You can now once again check out a mobile hotspot from the Forest Park Public Library.
After going two months without being able to lend out mobile hotspots, which allow a user to connect to the Internet, the library now has 20 brand new mobile hotspots that connect to Sprint’s 4G network.
“I am thrilled that we are able to continue to offer this service to residents of Forest Park,” said Megan Szwarek, the Adult Services Manager at the Forest Park Public Library. “We learned during our first go at this just how vital and necessary a service it is and I’m just delighted that we can bring it back at basically the same cost to the library as before.”
The library had to stop lending out its old hotspots at the end of January because the network the library’s hotspots used was shut down by Sprint. The previous network was run by a Rhode Island-based nonprofit.
But now Sprint has given the library 20 new mobile hotspots that use Sprint’s advanced 4G network.
“For every existing hotspot we had we were able to get a replacement at no cost,” Szwarek said. “The network is more extensive, so the coverage map is better. It’s Sprint, so everywhere there is Sprint Wi-Fi it should work.”
The cost to the library is the same as it was before. The library pays $120 a year per hotspot for an unlimited data package so the annual cost to the library is $2,400 for all its mobile hotspots.
The hotspots have been a popular item with library patrons since the library began lending them out in 2014.
“We never had them on the shelf,” Szwarek said. “They were all checked out and there were usually 20 holds for 20 devices.”
You must have a Forest Park library card to borrow the hotspots. They can be checked out for two weeks at no charge. Hotspots can only be returned to the circulation desk. A $15 fee will be charged to anyone returning a mobile hotspot to the book drop. If you return a hotspot late you will be charged a $2 a day late fee. Hotspots cannot be renewed. If you lose or damage a hotspot, you will be charged $85.
The hotspots cannot be used to send or receive text messages, but they can connect computers and other devices to the Internet.
“Many people in the community are without reliable Internet access, which puts them at a disadvantage for things like accessing government services, doing homework, and applying for jobs,” Szwarek said. “The library is here to provide access to information and resources for the community, and the FPPL Hotspot program is a wonderful extension of that.”