Young Delaware County District Library (DCDL) patrons will not have to worry about a lack of internet access at home for much longer, thanks to a new student Chromebook and hotspot lending initiative.
The Chromebook Bundles for Students project was initiated by DCDL IT Manager Traci Higgins after talking with teachers in the Delaware City Schools district about the lack of internet connectivity in some students’ homes, which prevented them from completing certain homework assignments.
“As I looked more deeply into the issue, I realized that connectivity is a big problem for many households in our library district, which also includes Buckeye Valley and Olentangy schools,” said Higgins. “I thought there had to be something that the library could do to help close the digital divide and assist our students.”
After researching, Higgins found the i3 program from Mobile Beacon. The “internet inclusion initiative” (i3) pairs Mobile Beacon’s mission of 4G internet access to nonprofits at affordable rates with cost savings programs like TechSoup to expand access to more patrons.
Students with their own juvenile DCDL library card in good standing will be able to check out the Chromebook Bundle, which includes a Google Chromebook, a hotspot, and all applicable charging cords. The hotspot provides unlimited data usage to up to 10 total users, which includes any other cell phones or laptops in the household. One bundle can be checked out per card and the bundle will remain on loan for a period of two weeks.
For privacy, once the bundle is returned, all data and will be wiped from the devices and the next patron will begin with a “clean” computer. Privacy and browsing restrictions also follow the same of the students’ home school district. For example, if a Buckeye Valley student checked out the bundle and logged on with their Google student access, all of their apps and other standard features would show.
The program will begin with 20 bundles available for check out, but there is potential for grant funding to help expand the program in the future.
The Chromebook Bundles for Students program continues DCDL’s initiative to fight to close the digital divide in households in Delaware County. In November 2015, DCDL launched a mobile hotspot lending program for adults ages 18 and over. The program received such wide praise from the community that it quickly expanded from just 25 hotspots to 55 this year with room for more. The Chromebook Bundles for Students program is independent and unique from DCDL’s current mobile hotspot lending program as only juvenile cards will be given access for lending.
(juvenile DCDL card is required)