The devices are available to checkout for up to a month with a library card registered in Washington County.
The hotspots and Chromebooks will help meet a critical need for internet access across the county. According to the 2018 American Community Survey, more than 9,000 households in Washington County do not have a computer with a broadband internet subscription. This need is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as services and programs shift to virtual settings.
“The pandemic has only increased the need for reliable internet access in our communities,” Library Director Amy Stenftenagel said. “Free access to hotpots and Chromebooks will help patrons with distance learning, job seeking, maintaining their small business, and simply staying connected. Internet access has become a core service of libraries, and now we can extend that service outside of our buildings.”
The devices were purchased with funding from the federal CARES Act. Washington County received $31.7 million for use aiding residents affected by COVID-19, and distributed some of these funds to the Library to help patrons’ access internet service. Additional hotspots were also purchased with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education using federal funding CFDA 45.310 (Library Services and Technology Act, Grants to States Program (LS-00-20-0024-20)).
Both hotspots and Chromebook kits may be checked out for one month at a time, and may be renewed three times if there are no other holds. Devices may be picked up at a local library branch or placed on hold in the Library’s online catalog.
For more information on hotspots and Chromebooks, visit WashCoLib.org/Devices