August 11, 2021 433 PM
MARFA—This week Marfa Public Library implemented a new hotspot lending program. If you do not have access to the internet in your home, this program allows library patrons 18 and up to check out one of 10 free hotspots available at the front desk.
Now you can use your Marfa Library card to check out a mobile hotspot device like you check out a book or movie and use the device to surf the internet. These pocket-sized devices are easy to use and can connect up to eight devices, such as your smartphone, laptop or tablet to cellular internet using T-Mobile’s network. The device and service are already paid for — you simply need to ask your librarian about checking it out.
Marfa Public Library is just one of many rural libraries throughout Texas now offering this service. Allowing library patrons to “take the internet home” offers unique benefits such as helping with job searches and interviews, assisting children with school, connecting with family and loved ones, navigating healthcare and being able to supplement slow satellite internet. For those who can’t completely disconnect while camping or hiking, these devices will let you bring the internet into the great outdoors.
As major educational, health, entertainment and commercial transactions have migrated online, broadband access has become essential in order to maneuver in American society. Libraries, as anchor institutions, plan an outsized role for digital inclusion in rural regions. Marfa Public Library is optimistic that offering these hotspots will expand services and opportunities for the community it serves. This program allows the library to offer its patrons free unlimited Internet access on the go with 3G/4G speeds.
This program is made possible with the support of the Tocker Foundation, the Central Texas Library System, Inc., Austin, the Technology & Information Policy Institute (TIPI) at The University of Texas at Austin, and Austin Free-Net.
“These hotspots should assist the local populations with internet access in many ways. Our work in other rural regions shows that hotspots allow people otherwise ‘unconnected’ to complete GED programs, to help their kids do homework and to use internet resources at their homes. The convenience and affordability factors are important,” said Sharon Strover, Professor and TIPI Director at The University of Texas at Austin.
Marfa Public Library is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information about this program or to volunteer: call 432-729-4631, email email@example.com, visit marfapubliclibrary.org, and follow @marfalibrary.