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JOPLIN, Mo. –After the pandemic forced interactions to become virtual, a disparity became clear between those with access to the internet and those without.
And when public services like the Joplin Public Library were closed due to Covid-19, it only became more apparent.
“It really highlighted to us the need to provide people with digital access, and this was really an opportunity to do so,” said Edden Kendall, Circulation Supervisor at the Joplin Public Library.
That opportunity would be one hundred new mobile hotspots that the Joplin public library acquired through the CARES Act.
“That program has really helped us provide digital access to an underserved community,” Kendall said.
They’ve already been a huge success at the library, and library staff says with things like virtual learning and needing to work from home, they’re happy to provide these services.
“We currently have many people on hold for them. and what we find is that there are individuals that will put them on hold, return them, put another one on hold, so it’s really working well.”
The hotspots are able to provide wifi for up to fifteen devices, something the library says is helpful to families and larger households in need of internet services.
“We see typically is a family will check that out, and again you can connect with 15 devices, so it really allows a family to utilize it for schoolwork, for entertainment, to connect with their family through the internet”
Ultimately, the program aims to bridge the divide between those with and without internet access and give residents the opportunity to connect with loved ones, complete schoolwork, and take care of other businesses.
Anyone interested in picking up a hotspot can do so at the library or place a hold online, the hotspots can be checked out for three weeks at a time.
COPYRIGHT 2021 BY KOAM NEWS NOW. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.

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