The Wichita Public Library has received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put 250 internet bundles into circulation for customers to borrow. The internet bundles will feature a wireless hotspot and a Chromebook.
"This service gives the Library a unique opportunity to bridge the digital divide in Wichita by giving residents with low or no internet connectivity at home the tools they need to access necessary infrastructure from home," said Jaime Prothro, Director of Libraries.
Customers can call (316) 261-8500 or visit
catalog.wichitalibrary.org to place a hold on an internet bundle. Customers must have a library card in good standing to use this service. Bundles may be picked up at any Wichita Public Library location and will check out for 28 days.
Each bundle comes with a Chromebook 3100, a T-Mobile hotspot, information about Library services, a copy of the Library's internet and acceptable use policy, and how-to guides for using these devices.
In May 2021, the FCC adopted a Report and Order establishing the rules and procedures for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, which provides funding to schools and libraries for the costs of laptop and tablet computers, hotspots, routers, modems and broadband internet connections for use by students, school staff and library customers at locations other than a school or library. The project is designed for residents who lack access to connected devices and internet services sufficient to engage in learning or work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Library received $150,000 in ARPA funding for this program.