Library starts lending Internet access
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System is now offering customers access to mobile Internet hotspots. A hotspot is a small, portable device that connects up to ten wireless-enabled devices, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet, to the Internet. The devices can be checked out with a library card and work in any area covered by the Sprint 3G or 4G LTE network.
“These devices essentially allow people to check out the Internet,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “Let’s say you’re going camping and want to bring your laptop—a hotspot device will allow you to upload photos to Facebook or Instagram, surf the Web, and watch movies. Or maybe you can’t afford Internet access at home and really need it for something, like a job interview via Skype—you can borrow a hotspot for free and get that.”
Hotspot kits are available for checkout at the circulation desks at the Lee Road, Coventry Village and Noble Neightborhood libraries to library card holders ages 18 and older with a library card in good standing.
The kits comprise a case, a device, a USB cable, a wall charger and instructions. Borrowers must sign a brief agreement document the first time they borrow a hotspot, and are limited to one device at a time. The devices can be borrowed for up to two weeks on a first-come, first-served basis, and cannot be renewed. The devices shut down if they are not returned on time.
“These devices can bridge the digital divide for many of our customers,” said Levin. “With more and more companies, nonprofits and government agencies assuming everyone has Internet access, these kinds of services can be a real lifeline for people who just can’t afford that monthly Internet bill.”
For more information on borrowing a mobile hotspot, visit www.heightslibrary.org.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.