May 24, 2022

New York Public Library Expands Free Wi-Fi Hotspot Loan Program

UPDATE: Here’s the official news release (with additional details) from NYPL.

It includes the following:

Google’s $1 million donation, along with a $500,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Robin Hood Foundation, will allow the program to expand this fall to all three library systems, including Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library [our emphasis].  The goal is to offer about 10,000 families Wi-Fi devices powered by Sprint, helping to close the digital divide in New York City.

From the Wall St. Journal:

Wireless Internet hubs free of charge at their local library branch, city officials said.

The program, expected to be announced Tuesday, will offer about 10,000 Wi-Fi units through branches of the New York Public Library, the Queens Library and the Brooklyn Public Library, funded partly with a $1 million donation from Google Inc.


The hubs, powered by Sprint, will generally be lent to library members in adult learning programs, English-language courses, and residents who don’t have home broadband, officials said.

The initiative expands on a 100-unit pilot program that the New York Public Library tested over the past six months.

Google’s donation adds to $500,000 from a number of nonprofits, helping to update the library program into an expansive public-private partnership. Library officials estimate the program’s first year will cost $2.6 million for all three library systems.

See Also: On June 23, 2014 we posted about NYPL receiving a $500,000 grant from the Knight Foundation for their hotspot loan program (aka “Checkout the Internet).

From Matt Ennis, The Digital Shift (June 25, 2014):

In order to ensure that the program covers the entire city, NYPL is spearheading the project on behalf of the city’s other two major library systems, the Queens Borough Public Library, and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL).

At the same time, the Chicago Public Library also received a Knight grant ($400,000) for a hotspot loan program named ‘Internet on the Go’.

UPDATE: Hotspot Loan Programs are Up and Running in All Three Libraries


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.