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Wi-Fi not accessible? York County Libraries partners with T-Mobile to help

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

Two York County libraries have partnered with T-Mobile to create a pilot program providing Wi-Fi hotspot rental services to their members.

From Monday, Dec. 2, through February, members of Martin Library in York City and Collinsville Community Library in Brogue are able to rent hotspots providing unlimited, high-speed internet access anywhere T-Mobile signals are available.

"The digital divide is not getting smaller; it's getting bigger and bigger as more technology is coming to the market," said Mina Edmondson, director of Martin Library. "One of the things libraries desire to do is to close that digital divide."

Martin Library Director Mina Edmondson holds a mobile hotspot Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, which the library is making available to those needing internet access. York County Libraries are partnering with T-Mobile to test the service "Hotspots To Go." Patrons can purchase use of the hotspots at Martin Library in York City and Collinsville Community Library in Brogue during the three-month pilot project. Bill Kalina photo

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That divide can  have a variety of causes, which is why the program targets both urban and rural areas, Edmondson added.

In urban areas with more poverty, such as York City, residents might not be able to afford Wi-Fi. In rural areas such as Brogue, high-speed internet might not be available.

During the pilot program, the two libraries have a total of 15 hotspots for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. Library members must be at least 18 years old to rent a hotspot, which costs $15 for a three-week borrowing period.

A mobile hotspot which the library is making available to those needing internet access is displayed at Martin Library Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. York County Libraries are partnering with T-Mobile to test the service "Hotspots To Go." Patrons can purchase use of the hotspots at Martin Library in York City and Collinsville Community Library in Brogue during the three-month pilot project. Bill Kalina photo

After the three-month pilot period, York County Libraries will take in feedback and potentially flesh out the services.

The libraries hope to eventually make the program a county-wide initiative, especially before the 2020 U.S. Census, which, for the first time, is able to be filled out online.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.

Martin Library Information Services Coordinator LaChaun Freeland holds one of the 15 mobile hotspots available to borrow at Martin Library and Collinsville Community Library now through February as part of a pilot project with T-Mobile.