Starting this month, Beaumont Library is lending mobile hotspots and Chromebooks to the public. Cardholders will be able to check out these technology items for up to two weeks, or for a three-day rapid check out period intended for time-sensitive situations.
The Chromebooks are Acer Spin 515 models that are comparable to touchscreen laptops and have USB ports for storing files on flash drives, but their screens can "spin" into a flat position turning the devices into tablets.
For privacy sake, all searches and documents are deleted when the Chromebook is powered off so users must save their work on a portable drive at the end of each session.
The new program is funded through the California State Library by a grant paid for by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed to assist those impacted by Covid-19 and is intended to provide connectivity to people without Internet access at home.
Many families continue to struggle meeting remote work, online classroom, and homework needs, even as schools and businesses begin to reopen.
"We are delighted to be able to help bridge the digital divide with this new service," says Beaumont Library Director Luren Dickinson. "The Chromebooks can be checked out and used in the library with our strong wireless signal or taken outside the building where the hotspot provides the Internet connection where there is none."
Three hotspots and five Chromebooks are available for a two-week check out period, while three Chromebooks and two Chromebook/hotspot bundles are reserved for rapid-return, three-day check out periods.
Patrons must to come to the library to check out the items they want after signing a waiver agreement. All of the technology hardware will be lent on a first-come-first-serve basis with no holds allowed and there is a 24-hour waiting period after returning items before a patron can check out a Chromebook and/or hotspot again.
All items come in protective cases and to insure their safety must be returned in the library, not in the library's outside book drops.