The internet is now available for checkout at the Southern Oklahoma Library system.
Several SOLS branches, Love, Davis and Atoka, now have Sprint hotspots that guests can check out for a week at a time. Branch Outreach Coordinator Alyson Hayes said they received the hotspots from the OSU Extension office in Stillwater, through a program for nonprofits funded by AARP Oklahoma.
“We had to send them all our demographics,” Hayes said. “It’s based on population, poverty levels and stuff like that. They will fund it for us for a year.”
Hayes said the library system started circulating the hot spots on Monday. So far, they’ve been in high demand.
“There are only a couple that are left,” Hayes said.
Hot spots can be checked out for a week and have unlimited data and, in theory, can support 10 connected devices.
“We got them out a couple of weeks ago and I had the branch managers take them home,” Hayes said. “Everybody seemed to have good results. If this is successful, the library will pay to have them in all of our libraries.”
People who check out the hotspots will fill out a survey, giving the library more information about what people are using them for. After a year, the library will fund the program.
“I would imagine most people are just using it to surf,” Hayes said.
Not returning the hotspot on time results in a $5 a day late fee up to the cost of the device. Checking one out requires someone to have had a library card for longer than two months, and the user must have no overdue fees or unreturned items. The hotspots also have an additional rental agreement form.
“It’s basically a little mini router,” Hayes said. “There is one button on it, and you just push it and hold it to turn it on.”
Each hotspot includes written instructions when it’s checked out. She said the Johnston County chamber initially told her about the program. Unfortunately, Johnston County doesn’t have the strong Sprint service required for the devices.
“It’s like a cellphone,” Hayes said. “If you don’t have reception, this isn’t going to work.”