Circulating WiFi

When the Who told us we should be "Going Mobile" on the album Who's Next (1971), we weren't thinking about mobile devices and wireless internet access.  Pete Townshend had something else in mind when he wrote the lyrics (i.e., the joys of travelling the open road in a mobile home). [FN 1] But today, going mobile conjures people carrying smartphones, tablets, other handheld computers or mobile devices.

Not everyone, however, is sufficiently affluent or technologically sophisticated to purchase and utilize their own mobile devices. That's why public libraries still offer computer workstations for public use.  Some folks have laptops or desktop computers but can't afford a monthly internet service provider.  Coming to the library may not always be convenient for patrons (such as when the library's closed).  If only internet access were mobile!

Thankfully, libraries now offer portable wireless broadband devices (WiFi) that patrons may checkout using their library cards. At my library, we use Sprint WiFi Hotspots, which provide wireless 4G online connectivity to multiple computing devices.  The Hotspots look like this:

Sprint WiFi Hotspot with USB cable and power plug adapter

We furnish patrons with an information packet when they checkout a Hotspot (along with our circulation policy).  Our promo trailer (below) is one way we market the devices; we also promote them on our website, social media, outdoor LED sign, handouts, and signs inside the library.  We circulate three Hotspot devices.

WiFi Hotspots Promo Trailer,
by Mooresville Public Library

These WiFi Hotspots have been extremely popular.  Patrons check them out constantly, and there is a healthy holds list.  It is just another service that we as a public library may offer our constituency.

[FN 1}: Grantley, S.; Parker, A.G. (2010). The Who by Numbers. Helter Skelter Publishing. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-1-905139-26-2.

P.S.  Here's "Going Mobile" by the Who, from the album Who's Next (1971) (video by Mark Allen Parker [2012]).


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