The Colony Public Library is doing what it can to help residents get connected.
The library recently received a $7,500 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Texas State Library and Archives Commission that is going toward enhanced public WiFi connection and more mobile hot spots.
The library has increased its WiFi connection to outside of the building. Residents can now access the internet at the south, west and north sides of its facility.
Library director Megan Charters said it became clear during the shutdown this past spring how much residents rely on public access to the internet if they don’t have access to home. But when facilities such as the library were shut down residents couldn’t use the WiFi access inside.
Charters is part of a resource group that discusses needs in the community. The group also includes representatives from Lewisville ISD, United Way of Denton County, Metro Relief and others.
“One of the needs that came from that was there needs to be a place to go to for WiFi,” Charters said. “People need to get online for school work, to fill out job applications and to check on benefits.”
Charters said she had been asked if WiFi was reaches outside the library.
“I told them it does slightly, but it’s persnickety,” Charters said.
The grant is also funding seven mobile hot spots available to be checked out by residents, which go along with the 10 hot spots the library already has.
Charters said the grant funds the data plan for those hot spots through August of 2021.
Residents can check out the hot spots for three weeks at a time, and they can renew their checkout if nobody has one on hold.
She said each hot spot supports up to 15 devices. The limit is 50 GB per month. Charters said the new hot spots are already in circulation.
“They’re almost always checked out,” she said. “We see a lot of regulars checking them out, so we know they’re being used by those who need it.”
Charters said both the expanded WiFi connection and the hot spots are not only helpful now but will be important if the COVID-19 numbers continue to get worse.
“If we have another closure then people can still use the WiFi without us being open,” Charters said.