The Fort Worth Public Library has expanded the Wi-Fi hotspot checkout service to eight branches with 200 devices available for checkout. Mobile hotspots are now available to check out for three weeks from these branches: COOL, Diamond Hill/Jarvis, East Berry, eSkills, Northside, Seminary South, Southwest Regional and Summerglen.
Growing demand citywide reached a peak of 350 residents on a wait list for the service in late September. Mobile hotspots are often more secure than free public Wi-Fi and the accessibility to the internet helps students, entrepreneurs and families alike. Each hotspot can connect up to 10 devices.
“We knew that this service was needed in our community,” said Fort Worth Public Library Director Manya Shorr. “We are thrilled at receiving both the private and public support to help us expand access to this service and reach even more of Fort Worth.”
The original six-month pilot program launched July 3, with 80 hotspots at four locations funded by an investment from the Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library. Due to the rapidly-growing demand, the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation obtained funds from Atmos Energy to extend the funding for those 80 hotspots through 2019.
“Collaborating with private investors like Atmos Energy is a win/win for us,” said Shorr. “We help them reach residents and share key information about natural gas and home safety, and their investment helps our patrons in their day-to-day lives.”
Due to the significant demand seen throughout the city, 120 hotspot devices were funded for 12 months with funds from City of Fort Worth ITS Department. The Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library and the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation financially support library services and are still seeking private funding to continue the hotspot service beyond 2019.