September 25, 2021

Minnesota: “Twin Cities Libraries Hesitate to Lend Internet Hot Spots”

From The Star Tribune (Minneapolis):

At a time when some library systems are seeing a decline in conventional services, libraries that do offer hot spots say they are the hottest item they lend. Those libraries still on the sidelines, however, say they are leery for a number of reasons.

First, library patrons commonly endure long waits for the units. With 130 units available through the St. Paul libraries, holds can last months even though most units can be retained for only a week.

And then there’s the issue of finding a reliable funding source to buy them. Many systems offering hot spots get grants to do so, but librarians worry about being forced to yank the popular option for lack of funding after users get accustomed to it.

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Long waits were the main reason mentioned by Johannah Genett, a division manager for the Hennepin County Library, to explain why the Hennepin system is hesitant about hot spot lending. Hennepin, while upgrading broadband speeds in library buildings, is more inclined to work with partners such as school districts furnishing hot spots to low-income students.

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.

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