Los Angeles County residents in need of a computer or internet service can now borrow them, the LA County Library announced today.
The Laptop & Hotspot Loan kit includes a Chromebook laptop and wireless hotspot, and is being offered in 10 locations as part of a pilot program. Additional locations will likely be added when the library system acquires more of the devices.
Library officials said the program will initially be offered in communities in which 57% and 63% of households have internet subscriptions, meaning roughly 40% of the population has no connectivity.
“The digital divide has far-reaching consequences, especially during this unprecedented time,” Library Director Skye Patrick said in a statement.
“No connection to the internet means no way for the unemployed to find employment or participate in virtual interviews, no way for isolated older adults to receive telehealth or keep in touch with loved ones, no way for caregivers to access information for home-schooling or support their kids’ digital schooling needs.”
The kits will be restricted to library card-holders aged 18 and up, and they can be checked out for three weeks, just like a library book. The loans can also be renewed up to three times, as long as other library users haven’t placed a hold on them.
When they are returned the equipment is kept in “quarantine” for 96 hours as a safety precaution.
The library also announced a Printing Pickup service that will be available at all library locations offering Sidewalk Service. Library users can print up to 10 pages using the library’s wireless printing app — LACountyLibrary.org/print — and pick them up at the Sidewalk Service