Cedar Rapids Public Library Adds to Laptop Loaner Program
The Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd. SW, is seen in October 2015 in Cedar Rapids. Food baskets to help needy families celebrate Thanksgiving will be available outside the library beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday. (The Gazette)
CEDAR RAPIDS – The Cedar Rapids Public Library is increasing the number of laptop computers patrons can borrow from the library with funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The laptops are part of an effort to expand computer access for customers, a need highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The library continues to look for opportunities to reduce barriers to access for our patrons,” said library director Dara Schmidt. “With funding from the FCC, we will be able to expand this valuable resource and provide more opportunities for our entire community to access this essential technology.”
Laptops are available for 10-day loan from the library. One laptop per library card holder 18 years of age or older, with photo ID. They can be put on hold through the library catalog or picked up at the library as soon as they are available.
The library also distributes laptop kits, which include a Chromebook laptop and a Wi-Fi hotspot, which can also be borrowed for 10 days at a time.
Laptop kits have a $350 value and must be returned directly to a library staff member. If they are late, the kit will shut down, rendering the hardware useless. Patrons accept replacement costs if the kit is not returned to the library. Laptops will be erased each time the customer shuts down the computer or ends their session. Laptops have Internet capabilities only, with no additional software such as Microsoft Word, and nothing can be saved to the desktop.
For patrons with their own devices but without home internet access, the library has been lending Wi-Fi hotspots for up to 10 days at a time since 2017, in conjunction with Hiawatha and Marion Public Libraries through the Metro Library Network.
For more information about the Cedar Rapids Public Library, visit www.crlibrary.org or call (319) 261-7323.