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Libraries to provide mobile hotspot access

By JENNIFER PERYAM - jperyam@h-ponline.com

Some Huntington and Markle residents can’t afford to have access at their homes for internet, but Huntington City-Township Public Library will now have a new option for internet access.

Beginning Monday, theHuntington and Markle libraries will offer a service for residents of Huntington and Huntington Township that will allow them to check out mobile hotspot devices for up to a week, according to Malcolm McBryde, assistant director for operations.

The devices can be used with laptops, iPads and tablets to allow for internet service in the home.

“We know that there are people in our area who don’t have internet at home because they either can’t afford it or they live in an area that is not served,” McBryde said.

The library has five hotspots available for check out: four at the Huntington main branch and one at its Markle branch. The library received the five devices for free from TechSoup, a nonprofit that provides low cost and free services to libraries, charities and other nonprofits. The library will pay for the internet access fees and receive a discounted rate for access.

One of the devices can be reserved in advance. The others may be checked out with a library card on a first come, first served basis. The patron must have a library card to check out the device at the library front desk.

“People can use the device to have internet access to write a resume or for children who need to do homework at home,” said McBryde.

They also can shop online or make vacation, plane and hotel reservations using the internet. People also will be able to work from home using the device.

He said the devices can be taken on vacation or used in the car.

The device is the size of a smart phone and comes in an enclosed case. It wirelessly connects to a cell phone tower and acts as an access point for any WiFi enabled computer device, McBryde explains.

To turn on the hotspot, locate the power switch on the right at the bottom on the device and press to the ON position.

Wait about a minute and search for the SprintHotspot 768 network to appear and enter the password provided by the library.

Users will have unlimited 4G cellular connectivity through the Sprint network.

The checkout period is for seven days. The overdue fine will be $2 per day.

Beka Lemons, Huntington library director, said so much of life requires access to the internet.

“If they can’t do it at home they come here and that is not always feasible,” Lemons said.

She said students nowadays need internet access to complete homework at home. The hotspot device will help with that.

McBryde said it is a pilot program for the library. If there is a large need for other devices the library will consider acquiring more.

Other area libraries including Nappanee, Kendalville and Garrett currently allow their patrons to check out the devices.

The hotspot can be checked out at the Huntington library Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Markle Library hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.