[Libs-Or] Limited Internet access in your area?
kstreet at otld.org
Wed Apr 15 11:43:51 PDT 2020
At OTLD we started circulating T-Moblie hotspots last fall. We began with 15 devices, 5 for each branch, and quickly added 10 more. The devices have a long holds list. Patrons checking out devices include families and individuals. Our communities have several areas with no internet offerings and the existing companies are too expensive for many households. As soon as the schools distributed Chromebooks and online class instructions the calls requesting hotspots began. All devices are currently checked out and due dates extended until the library reopens. One call was from an employee sent home with a laptop to work from home. She has no internet and a contract cell phone that does not act as a hotspot. She was eventually crying saying that her job depended on this. A counselor from Community Counseling Solutions called for a client who is a high school student and needing internet for classes. A Care Team coordinator called for a family needing internet for classes, the family called the school and they referred her to her Care team coordinator. The list continues every day.
Our library has always had the WiFi on in our parking lots 24 hours a day seven days a week for our communities. This has always been an important service we offer. At times we have defended this choice to city managers and police officers.
Kathy Street, MLS
Oregon Trail Library District
From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Buzzy Nielsen, OLA Legislative Committee Chair
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2020 11:18 AM
To: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: [Libs-Or] Limited Internet access in your area?
Sorry, folks, you're going to get sick of hearing from me today!
Anyway, over the past several years, OLA has been working with the Legislature and Oregon Broadband Office to increase access to high-speed Internet in areas where it's lacking, mainly rural Oregon.
This pandemic has put the digital divide in stark relief, especially as students' continued education depends on them having reliable access to the Internet. We've seen this in my own county, Crook, where we have areas that have no broadband options at all, and several low income households that can't afford the expensive offerings we do have.
Are you experiencing issues like this in your area? If so, please let me know, detailing how it's affecting your community. If your library, school, or other local governments are doing something to help lessen the divide, that would be great to hear, too. We'll be sharing this information with the Legislature and Broadband Office to help demonstrate the need for more investment in broadband infrastructure and where to target it.
Thanks for your help with this project! I hope that you're all staying safe and healthy.
Library Development & Legislative Committee
Oregon Library Association
ldlcchair at olaweb.org <mailto:ldlcchair at olaweb.org>
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