January 25, 2022

Arizona State University’s SolarSPELL Program “Delivers Digital Libraries to Tonga”

From ASU:

If you’re Laura Hosman, bringing educational resources to rural areas is what you do.

This week, Hosman is traveling to Tonga, where she and her team will deliver 25 portable, solar-powered, Wi-Fi-ready digital library devices called SolarSPELL — the Solar Powered Educational Learning Library — which is helping to expand access to education and technology in remote places around the world that lack electricity and the internet.

Hosman, an assistant professor at ASU with a joint appointment in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is traveling with five undergraduate students — four engineering students from the Polytechnic School, one of the five Fulton Schools, and one film student from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts — as well as Lorrie McAllister, an assistant university librarian at ASU Libraries.


The innovative library device is 100 percent self-reliant: generating its own solar power and Wi-Fi hot spot and using its own tiny computer, called a Raspberry Pi, that functions as a server connecting to library content via smartphone, laptop or iPad.

Because the SolarSPELL website functions as a local digital library — providing thousands of resources in the form of videos, articles, books, lessons and instructional guides — the selection of educational content and how the technology is introduced to the community is crucial.

Read the Complete Article, View Images

Past SolarSPELL Coverage/Links: “No Internet, No Power, No Problem: Solar Library Empowers Schools Abroad” (September 17, 2016)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.