The Daviess County Public Library is adding hotspots to its wide array of public services. DCPL will receive roughly 100 hotspots along with several Chromebooks and iPads, courtesy of the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF).
The ECF is a $7.17 billion program that assists schools and libraries in providing tools and services to communities to enhance virtual learning during the pandemic. Qualifying patrons can complete a survey/application attesting that they would not have internet access without the funding.
“ECF will help provide relief (nationwide) to millions of students, school staff, and library patrons,” said library technology director Brian Lashbrook. “It will help close the homework gap for students who currently lack necessary internet access or the devices they need to connect to classrooms.”
DCPL will place roughly half of the hotspots in “worthy homes,” with 50 still available for rent. Those interested in renting a hotspot must have a library card and be in good standing to take advantage of the program.
A recent census shows that 88.7% of households in Daviess County have a computer, while only 82.7% of homes have high-speed internet access. DCPL Collection Development Manager Alicia Harrington said the need for the internet continues to grow as more daily activities shift to virtual.
“We currently loan out about 45 hotspots, and they stay on hold,” Harrington said. “Our patrons really need internet access, and that demand has increased this past year significantly.”
Harrington added that the library’s mission has always been to provide a gateway to knowledge and culture by fostering learning opportunities for everyone.
“We want to connect those that need access to the virtual world by equalizing internet access,” she said. “We want to make sure that everyone has access to information — and in this day and age, that’s primarily through the internet.
The library will have the hotspots available within the next couple of weeks. Those interested in applying can download and print the survey from the library’s website or visit the library in person to complete an application.
Direct all questions about the EFC and the hotspots to Lashbrook at [email protected] or call 270-684-0211 ext. 262.