AURORA | The library isn’t just for books anymore. Aurora Public Library now offers WiFi hotspots that patrons can check out at no charge, in what officials say is part of a growing trend of libraries offering technology resources to go.
“It’s pretty popular for libraries to have different kinds of technology that’s available to the public,” said Midori Clark, director of Aurora’s Library and Cultural Services department.
The hotspots have been available since early November. Next year the library hopes to have laptops available for people to check out as well.
“We’re really excited,” she said.
The library purchased 100 hotspots using federal pandemic relief funding sent to the city, Clark said.
APL follows the Denver library system, which began offering hotspots and Chromebooks in early 2021 after receiving funding from the Denver Economic Development & Opportunity office.
“Almost 20% of Denver households still do not have broadband service at home, and low-income households and vulnerable groups are much less likely to have access,” DPL said on its website. “Access to computers and internet has always been a popular service at our libraries and with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to be a critical need in our communities.”
The hotspots are available to any library patron older than 18, city staff say, as long as they don’t have any fines or fees on their account. Hotspots can be checked out for 14 days with no renewals. There are no fines, but service will be disabled once the hotspots are overdue.
The hotspots can be checked out from any of APL’s seven branches. Clark said the easiest way to get one is to place a hold through the library’s online catalog, which can be done by searching “hotspot” in the catalog. Patrons who don’t have internet access and need assistance placing a hold can do so at any of the libraries.
Along with being a boon for people without home internet, Clark said the hotspots can be used to boost an internet connection if there are a lot of people online in one location. They are also popular with people on vacation who don’t want to use up data when they or their kids are using devices in the car.
“There are a bunch of really fun applications,” she said.