With the addition of new hotspots, networking at the Washington County Library is improving

Stephanie Moua

LAKELAND, MN - With its mission to inspire curiosity, champion innovation, and spark opportunity, Washington County Library has installed 400 Wi-Fi hotspots and 100 Chromebooks to its inventory to assist citizens in using the internet outside of the library. The devices can be checked out for up to a month if you have a Washington County library card.

As a result of the installation of hotspots and Chromebooks, the county will be able to satisfy. Over 9,000 homes in Washington County lack a computer with a broadband internet connection, according to the 2018 American Community Survey.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, services and activities are moving to virtual environments, exacerbating this requirement.

Amy Stenftenagel, as Library Director, said, "The pandemic has only increased the need for reliable internet access in our communities," which then she added, "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 federal CARES Act provided funds for the procurement of the devices. COVID-19 severely affected citizens in Lakeland, and the county has received $31.7 million to support them. Some of this money has been donated to the Washington County Public Library to help patrons access internet service.

Minnesota Department of Education grant CFDA 45.310 supported purchasing extra hotspots (Library Services and Technology Act, Grants to States Program (LS-00-20-0024-20)). For one month, both hotspots and Chromebook kits can be checked out. If there are no other restrictions, they can be renewed three times. If you want to borrow a device, you can either pick it up at a nearby library branch or place it on hold in the library's online catalog.

Visit WashCoLib.org Devices For more information on hotspots and Chromebooks.

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