When we and others published the first announcement of wi-fi hotspots available to borrow from the Seattle Public Library, a long waiting list developed quickly – WSB reader Diane was on it and chronicled the wait. Now, with another grant, SPL has more than doubled the number available, as announced today:
Thanks to an additional $80,000 grant from Google, The Seattle Public Library has added 200 more Wi-Fi hotspots for Library patrons to check out. The devices provide patrons with free, mobile broadband Internet service for three weeks.
The Library used an initial grant from Google to buy 150 hotspots and launched the lending program on May 18. In the first week, nearly 1,000 patrons placed holds on the devices.
“Clearly, even in a high-tech city like Seattle, there is a huge need for additional broadband access,” said Marcellus Turner, Seattle’s city librarian. “These devices help close the digital divide for Seattle residents who live on low incomes.”
Some Library patrons had requested more devices after the initial launch. The Library now lends a total of 326 devices and librarians use another 24 hotspots during outreach programming.
Many patrons believe the Wi-Fi hotspots provide an exciting new spin on the public library system’s foundational service – ensuring equal access to information for all.
“This is the coolest thing ever,” one user commented. “Kudos to The Seattle Public
Library for carrying a traditional mission of libraries into the Internet age.”
The Seattle Public Library is the first public library in the United States to make
the hotspots available to all its cardholders. For more information, call the Library 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.