FAIRMONT — In another move to provide necessary materials to people of the community, the Marion County Public Library System has purchased mobile hotspots to lend to card holders across the community who need internet access.
Larissa Cason, director of the Marion County Public Library System, said these hotspots were on the library's wish list for a while, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed their purchase up because there was such a need in the community to have access to the web.
"It is something that had been on our radar that we have been thinking about, because there are other libraries that have these and circulate them," Cason said. "Because of the pandemic and the need for people to be able to access the internet to go to school and to work these days, and knowing how the spotty it can be in parts of the county, we accelerated our plans to purchase those."
According to Cason, these mobile hotspots work with any phone or laptop, and will connect users to the nearest network where the library cardholder lives. When checked out from the Fairmont, Mannington or Fairview branch of MCPLS, the hotspots come with instructions for connecting to the internet as well, Cason said.
"It's a little device, probably about the size of a deck of cards, roughly," Cason said. "It connects through the cellular network, so whatever cellular network covers your region, and you connect your device."
The library system purchased 10 mobile hotspots, and Cason said library patrons will probably need to get on a waiting list to check them out for the near future. Hotspots can be checked out for seven days at a time, and cannot be renewed, in order to keep them circulating to everyone who needs one.
"It circulates just like anything else," Cason said. "They can go online to their library account and search for hot spots ... Right now there is a waiting list for them, they are all checked out right now, but people can put them on hold."
Cason said being able to supply people in need with internet access is another way for the library to be useful to people in Marion County, and she is happy the mobile hotspots have already become so popular.
"We knew there was a need out there because we know there are places in Marion County that do not have broadband access," Cason said. "We just wanted to provide another way that patrons could get access."