Whether you live in an Indiana city or county, you may not be connected to the internet. It is estimated that 27 percent of the population has no internet access. We know that 27 percent disproportionately effects lower income individuals in the cities and the countryside. Opportunities to connect to the internet have been available in 236 public libraries in Indiana for some time. The internet access has been inside the library, but there is a need for access outside the library walls.
The landscape for internet connection has changed over time. People still visit the public libraries for internet use, but now they are bringing their own devices, such as cellphones, laptops and tablets. People can connect to the public libraries wireless network. There is now another service available in some libraries: mobile hotspots. This lending service permits citizens of Indiana to access the internet outside of the library on their own device. No longer are people limited to libraries hours, but have access 24/7.
Why is this service important? Because increasingly school assignments are accessed and completed with the internet, job opportunities are found online and many government services are on the internet.
Several libraries in Indiana have rolled out mobile hotspot lending programs. Numerous vendors offer the hotspots and libraries are encouraged to explore their options. Sprint is the vendor on state contract, so if you are interested in offering the devices in your library contact the Sprint government sales representative for state pricing. Here are the contacts:
Public Sector/Business Solution Account Manager –MI/IN
Government/General Business – Business Sales
Mark D. Smith
Enterprise & Public Sector – Indiana
This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, library development librarian and eRate coordinator. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or via email.