Expand Access with Wi-Fi to Go for Libraries

Mobile Beacon’s Wi-Fi to Go program gives libraries throughout the U.S. access to mobile devices combined with our affordable 4G service. By loaning out devices just like a book, libraries can give patrons 24/7 access to a world of information. The program helps children with homework research after school to minimize the “homework gap”, adults search for better job opportunities, families keep in touch with email, and seniors access health information. Libraries can also use our devices to provide Internet access for mobile computer labs and community digital literacy classes, remotely connect to reference services, complete circulation duties, provide free Wi-Fi for people during community events and create an inexpensive Internet backup service.

Check Your Coverage

Verify that your library is in our coverage area by entering your address at http://www.mobilebeacon.org/lte-coverage.

Plan a Pilot

Identify the scope of the program you’d like to offer (# of devices, locations) and the duration of the pilot program

Plan your budget

Set targeted, measurable learning goals (pre- and post-patron surveys, request monthly usage reports from Mobile Beacon)

We encourage libraries to use our new 4G LTE device donation program through TechSoup to get up to 11 donated devices. It’s a great way to launch a program like this on a limited budget. Plus, you can continue to request additional donated devices each year!

Set Your Policies

Set up guidelines for borrowing

Identify return policy location and establish overdue fines, liability, and proper use and care policies

Update staff on device usage and policies

Sample Policies
Sample Tablet Lending Policy
Sample Device Lending Policy

Tell Your Community

Add program information to your website

Post notices onsite

Send out a press release to the media and other community organizations

Alert your community stakeholders about your new program

Connect!

Circulate devices to patrons

Assess pilot effectiveness to see if you want to continue or possibly expand

Share your successes

Meet the 2015 Wi-fi To Go Recipients!

You could be a pilot site too.

 

We were overwhelmed with the thoughtful responses in this year’s applications for our annual pilot program, and ended up choosing two library winners:

 

 

Kansas City Public Library (KCPL)
Kansas City, MO

With 70% of students in the Kansas City School District without Internet access at home, KCPL plans to provide resources for them to keep up with homework after school, as well as provide awareness training for parents on educational technologies.

 

“Unlimited data from Mobile Beacon is a game changer for the Library’s hotspot lending partnership with the public school district. It sends the message that we value, trust and support the often vulnerable families we serve.”
— David LaCrone, Digital Branch Manager, The Kansas City Public Library

 

 

Kitsap Regional Library (KRL)
Bremerton, WA

A semi-rural area with poor connectivity, KRL plans to shift their service model so staff time is spent not sitting behind a desk but providing the full range of their most impactful, life-changing services wherever they are most needed.

 

“I cannot express how important it is to have these hotspots when out in the community. I have made new library cards for people in the Life Skills class at Kitsap Community Resources, during festivals like Manettefest, at workshops for community and library partners, in pubs for Story Night. The hotspot has allowed me to bring readers advisory, reference, and resource education to a diverse audience, many of whom would have been unlikely to come to the library on their own. I have used the hotspot to be productive when I’m at conferences, and working remotely from home. The program fosters our progress to fully meet the needs of the community and fulfill our mission.”
— Audrey Barbakoff, Adult Services Manager, The Kitsap Regional Library

Each received $18,000 of equipment to launch a hotspot lending program, including:

 

25 4G devices with free unlimited data plans for the duration of the 6-month pilot

 

25 laptops.