21ST CENTURY LIBRARY: Patrons of the New York Public Library (NYPL) and Chicago Public Library (CPL) will soon be able to check out mobile Wifi hot-spots, National Public Radio reports. Both the NYPL initiative, which received $500K from the Knight Foundation, and the CPL initiative, which received $400K, emphasize providing technology education as well as tools.
According to the NYPL, 55% patrons report no broadband access at home and depend on the 40-minute, once-a-day time slots at the library. Through its pilot program enabling checkout of portable hot-spots for up to a year, targeting participants in three educational programs (Out of School Time, Technology Training classes, and English for Speakers of Other Languages), the NYPL hopes to help its patrons “expand their ability to participate fully in the modern economy.”
In its pilot program, the Chicago Public Library will loan hot-spots for three weeks at a time, and will also offer laptops, tablets and digital skill instruction. The technology will be offered starting in six neighborhood libraries.