Washington County library system adds 100 laptops to collection, sets up 400 Wi-Fi hotspots

Washington County library system adds 100 laptops to collection, sets up 400 Wi-Fi hotspots Photo: courtesy of the Washington County library system.

Rebecca Omastiak
Updated: November 18, 2020 12:57 PM
Created: November 18, 2020 09:02 AM

The Washington County library system is working to provide people with internet access outside of the library during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the library system, 400 Wi-Fi hotspots have been set up and 100 Chromebook laptops have been added to its collection. 

Anyone with a library card registered in Washington County can check out the devices for up to a month and devices may be renewed three times if there are no other holds.

The library system states the laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots have been added in an effort to meet "a critical need for internet access across the county." Citing the 2018 American Community Survey, the library system reports "more than 9,000 households in Washington County do not have a computer with a broadband internet subscription.

"This need is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as services and programs shift to virtual settings," the library system goes on to state.

Some of the $31.7 million in federal CARES Act funding was used for the devices. Additional Wi-Fi hotspots were also purchased using a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

"Free access to hotpots and Chromebooks will help patrons with distance learning, job seeking, maintaining their small business, and simply staying connected," Library Director Amy Stenftenagel said in a statement.

Find more information on the laptops and hotspots here.

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