The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund has announced an award for equipment and services in the amount of $ 79,765.05 to the Dike Public Library. This exciting award will enable the library to provide several new services.
Patrons will now have access to check out hotspots, tablets and laptops for use outside of the library. Each device will have full internet service provided through the life of the grant (projected to end mid-December).
A portion of the devices will be used for regular circulation of 3 weeks each. The remainder of the devices will be for extended checkout periods of 4 months. At the end of the checkout period, if no other patron is waiting on reserve for the device, it may be renewed for another 4 months, throughout the life of the grant.
The grant provided 100 hotspots (85 to be used for long-term check-outs, 15 for short-term check-outs), 40 tablets (35 long-term, 5 short-term) and 20 laptops (16 long-term, 4 short-term).
The grant pays for the service to each device through December, but after the life of the grant, the equipment will remain the property of the Dike Library/City of Dike. The grant purchased approximately $ 36,000 in equipment and $ 43,000 for 10 months of full service to each device.
In addition to devices available to patrons, the grant is also providing 5 ruggedized routers to provide a free public wifi area. The equipment, valued at $ 12,000, will be mounted at the Kruger-Hemmen Sports Complex to provide free wifi at that location to the community.
Hotspots and tablets are available to begin circulating immediately. At the time that this article went to press, the laptops and routers had not yet been delivered. They are expected to arrive soon.
The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program intended to help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.
In addition to patrons who lack home internet access, many patrons may have found that their current internet is not sufficient to meet their increased needs with the changes brought by the COVID pandemic.
Library Director Billie Dall hopes to be of service to the community with the new program and to rise to the challenge of meeting changing needs.