Library awarded grant for WiFi Hotspot lending
OUACHITA PARISH PUBLIC LIBRARY AWARDED GRANT FOR WIFI HOTSPOT LENDING
Library Acting Director Nancy Green announced today that the Ouachita Parish Public Library was awarded an Emergency Connectivity Fund grant to purchase 25 WiFi hotspots to lend to the public. The hotspot lending program is another way the Library is helping to bridge the digital divide by providing take-home Internet access and digital training for people in digitally- underserved areas of the city.
“Ouachita Parish Public Library has been a leader in digital literacy since the late-1980s. The Library is committed to increase digital literacy in Ouachita Parish because today’s digital skills are 21st century workforce skills,” said Betty Ward-Cooper, President of the Ouachita Parish Public Library Board of Control. “Our patrons will now be able to access free, easy-to-take home, high-speed Internet access that will serve as a game-changer for children and adults across Ouachita Parish, but especially in communities that have traditionally been underserved.”
The hotspots, purchased with federal grant monies, will allow Library patrons to check out WiFi hotspot devices for one week at a time, beginning first in five neighborhood branches where digital access is particularly low. The hotspots will be available for checkout at the Main Branch, Ouachita Valley Branch, Louise Williams Branch, Ollie Burns Branch, and the Cpl JR Searcy Branch. The Library will continue to offer computer classes and skills training at all branches as a part of its mission to improve digital literacy and lifelong learning.
Library cardholders, ages 18 and older who are residents of Ouachita Parish, may check out a hotspot for a week. The devices connect to the Verizon mobile network and create a WiFi network when turned on, allowing users to connect their mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. The devices come with a built-in filter to block pornography and malware.
“The importance of Internet access and digital literacy skills in today’s economy is clear,” says Larry Bratton, Ouachita Parish Police Juror. “The Library is a place in our community in which everyone is able to fully participate in the digital economy, and we want to keep increasing the number of digitally-connected and technologically-savvy students, residents, and businesses. The Library is more than books.”
About the Ouachita Parish Public Library
The mission of the Library is to advance literacy, inspire lifelong learning, and strengthen our community by serving everyone in Ouachita Parish. The Library serves a diverse community of approximately 160,000 people. The Library has 10 branches throughout the parish, plus a bookmobile, outreach services and e-services online at www.oplib.org.