Literally Checking The Internet Out of the Library

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In the beginning it was books, then audio, then video. Years later, downloads were available on your own device. Now, you can check the internet out of the Seattle Public Library. Not ‘check out’ as in connect online at the library. You can literally go to your Seattle Public Library branch, check out the internet and take it home with you.

The SPL Hot Spot, also known as the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

The SPL Hot Spot, also known as the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

Seattle Public Library is now offering the ‘SPL Hot Spot’ for you to check out and take home for 21 days at a time. You check it out just like you would a book, CD, DVD or any other library item.

Thanks to a $225,000 grant from Google, anyone with a Library card can now check out Wi-Fi hotspot devices to use at home for free.

“Broadband is becoming a necessity to be successful in today’s world,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Whether applying for a job, completing a homework assignment or paying a bill, you need access to the Internet. Thanks to the Library’s partnership with Google, this new initiative will help hundreds of Seattle families check out their own Wi-Fi hotspot.”

There is a need. A 2014 city of Seattle Information Technology Access and Adoption report revealed that over 90,000 Seattle residents lacked Internet access at home. When household income dropped to under $20,000, approximately 57 percent reported having no access.

Borrowing the device is free. However, if you damage it or fail to return the hot spot, a $199 charge will be applied to your library account. You can return the hotspot to any Library location or book drop, just like other items. You must return the device with all the original packaging and accessories. Please fully charge the battery before you return the device.

The Seattle Public Library currently provides more than 800 Internet computers across 27 locations, which are heavily used. Each location also offers free Wi-Fi.