You Can Now Check Out Mobile WiFi Hotspots at Boston Public Library
They come with unlimited data and can be yours for up to three weeks.
Libraries are doing a lot more than just letting you check out books on dead trees these days, and Boston Public Library is no different. Just drop by the modernized Copley Square location—with its digital kiosks, café serving beers, and street-side WGBH studio—and see for yourself.
Now, BPL is rolling out another 21st Century twist on its mission of enlightening the masses: a mobile WiFi hotspot lending program.
The library announced Tuesday that it is now offering its members the chance to check out the rectangular devices, which can be used to connect laptops and smartphones to the internet. In a partnership with Verizon, BPL branches around the city have begun lending a limited number of kits containing a T-Mobile Alcatel LINKZONE hotspot, charger, and adapter to library card-holders in good standing over the age of 18. Mayor Marty Walsh first announced the plan, as part of a fiber optic cable collaboration with Verizon, in 2016.
“Boston Public Library is committed to removing barriers to digital access and ensuring internet access and information-seeking opportunities are accessible to all our patrons,” BPL President David Leonard says in a statement. “The hotspot lending program is a valuable resource that furthers our work and impact in this area.”
The hotspots come with unlimited data and can be used anywhere in the continental U.S. You can place a hold on one here and keep it out for up to 21 days (you can’t renew it). This is the start of a one-year pilot of the initiative.
“Increasing the availability of high-speed internet, not only in public spaces but throughout the whole city, is a big part of our digital equity strategy,” Patricia Boyle-McKenna, the city’s interim chief information officer, says in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the results of this one-year pilot program that will expand connectivity options throughout our neighborhoods and communities.”