YORK — York County Libraries are partnering with T-Mobile to test a new library service: Hotspots To Go, a service that allows library patrons to borrow mobile hotspots for up to three weeks for $15, the agency announced Monday.
Starting this week, Martin Library in York and Collinsville Community Library in Brogue are loaning mobile hotspot devices to library members as part of a three-month pilot project. Library members, age 18 and older, are eligible to borrow them.
The hotspots will connect library members to unlimited, high-speed internet service anywhere a T-Mobile signal can be received.
“In Brogue, which is very rural, we have many families who cannot get internet service at their homes,” said Collinsville Community Library Manager Ellen Helfrick. “They frequently come to the library to access our computer and wi-fi services which is great, but there are times they need access to the internet outside of library hours. We are excited to see if mobile hotspots can offer a solution.”
At Martin Library, which is in an urban area, the public access computers and wi-fi also see heavy use. Internet service is readily available in the city, but is cost prohibitive for some members, so they head to the library.
“We have people who bring their own devices to work on special projects at Martin Library,” said Martin Library director Mina Edmonson. “The challenge comes when it’s the library’s closing time and they really need to keep working to meet deadlines. We think that our members will like the flexibility this new service provides.”
The mobile hotspots support smart phones, tablets, desktop computers, and laptops. Multiple devices can connect to a hotspot at the same time with unlimited data usage.
“This will work great for family members who need internet access for varied reasons,” says Helfrick. “Plus, it could come in handy for holiday travel.”
Hotspots To Go are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Martin Library’s information services desk and at Collinsville Community Library’s circulation desk. There are a total of 15 units available for checkout, during the pilot project which runs through February, York County Libraries says.
Results of the pilot project will determine the community’s need and interest in this service.
Edmondson would like to see the Hotspots to Go service expand to libraries countywide.