Dallas Public Library Bundles Laptops With Hotspots to Get Residents Online

The laptops can be checked out for 30 days with the option to renew if there are no outstanding requests

NBC 5 News

The Dallas Public Library has announced that it is making it easier for residents who need computer access by bundling laptops with hotspots to be borrowed using library cards.

According to the Dallas Public Library, the first 100 Chromebook and hotspot bundles will roll out this week at nine library locations.

An additional 1,125 laptop and hotspot bundles will be released in April at 20 locations, the Dallas Public Library said. Those computers will be loaded with Microsoft Office.

The Dallas Public Library said the Chromebooks are funded through a grant from the Texas State Library and Archive Commission, and they are specified for neighborhoods with the greatest digital divide.

The laptops were purchased with a CARES grant to help people navigate the challenges of COVID-19.

The library said more than 42% of Dallas residents do not have a fixed internet connection in their homes, according to the 2016 American Communities Survey.

Dallas Public Library began checking out hotspots last year, even before the pandemic and stay-at-home orders made internet access essential.

In December, an additional 2,100 hotspots were put in circulation, the library said.

"These laptops are going to make a big difference for many families," Library Director Jo Giudice said. "A hotspot alone, while great, isn't that much help if the only device you have is a cell phone."

Laptops can be requested online at www.dallaslibrary.org, by phone at 214-670-1400, or by contacting a local branch.

The laptops, like the hotspots, can be checked out for 30 days with the option to renew if there are no outstanding requests, the library said.

Laptops can be placed on request and picked up through the Library To Go curbside service at the designated locations.

Dallas Public Library operates Library To Go curbside service at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and 29 branch locations.

Laptops must be returned in person to the same location where they were borrowed during library open hours.

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