Eugene Public Library cardholders can now borrow mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Each hotspot can be used by up to 10 people at a time to access free high-speed internet with unlimited data.
Cardholders can borrow a hotspot at any Eugene Public Library location or place a hold request for pick-up later by visiting bit.ly/EugLibraryHotspot.
The mobile Wi-Fi hotspots are simple to use and come with instructions in English and Spanish. They are rechargeable, small and easy to carry anywhere. The library has 250 to lend to individuals.
Additionally, the library is supplying 250 hotspots to local agencies that serve unhoused community members and others facing barriers to internet access. These partners include Community Supported Shelters, Community Outreach Through Radical Empowerment (CORE), Downtown Ambassadors and First Place Family Shelter and Preschool.
“At the library, we see every day how important internet access is,” Eugene Public Library Director Will O’Hearn said. “It's a lifeline to school, finding and keeping work, meeting health and economic needs, as well as having fun and staying connected with loved ones. We're dedicated to helping to ensure that everyone in our community has the internet access they need.”
To determine feasibility, Eugene Public Library Foundation first sponsored a pilot project with additional support by Eugene Metro Rotary and partner agencies First Place Family Center, White Bird and 15th Night. Following the success of the trial run, the Foundation joined with the Friends of Eugene Public Library to raise $60,000 to purchase 300 hotspots to lend. The campaign surpassed its goal. Generous individual donors as well as the Oregon Library Innovation Fund of Oregon Community Foundation gave a total of $102,000, which allowed the project to launch with 500 hotspots.
“Internet equity is an urgent need in our community,” Eugene Public Library Foundation Director Reed Davaz McGowan said. “Even before the pandemic, lack of internet access disproportionately affected low-income households, unhoused people and people of color. And now, the need for access is even more crucial.”
Eugene Public Library cards are free for all residents of the City of Eugene and for all students enrolled in Eugene School District 4J and Bethel School District.
For more information contact Eugene Public Library at eugene-or.gov/library or 541-682-5450.