Calvert Library recently began checking out Chromebooks and Chromebook + Wi-Fi hotspot bundles to customers and is already getting positive feedback. Chromebooks are secure, compact, simplified laptops that allow users to complete a myriad of tasks on the internet. One customer thanked the library for giving her a way to apply for jobs after library hours. Another said she used a hotspot to stream music to help comfort her autistic children and help them sleep. A Pew study released in May 2019 found that residents in rural areas experience lower levels of access to the internet and technology. Calvert Library initiated this project to help alleviate this issue.
Library card holders 16-years-old and up, can check out available Chromebooks or bundles from any of the four Calvert Library locations–Prince Frederick, Fairview Branch, Twin Beaches Branch and Southern Branch. The materials feature a check out period of three weeks, and can be renewed as long as no other customers are waiting to check out a device.
Reference Supervisor Tiffany Sutherland said, “This lending program is a natural supplement to our existing hotspot lending program. Lending these two types of devices allows us to offer the opportunity for everyone in our community equal access to the internet and technology needed to succeed.”
Newly elected Board of Library Trustees President Jeffrey Lewis said, “Calvert Library’s mission is to empower individuals by facilitating lifelong learning and strengthening our community by providing opportunities for connection to one another and the world. Lending Chromebooks to our customers is another vital step in bridging the digital divide in our community and successfully working towards completing our mission.”
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number 1014 and the Maryland State Library.