Public Library Mobile Hotspot Lending Program

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Device Troubleshooting : 844-341-4834 (staff and patrons)

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   Phone: Jennifer Schwartz
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The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has distributed over 3000 hotspots to approximately 220 public libraries for loan to library users.

MBLC is providing the hotspot devices and will cover the cost of the internet service / data plan through the end of September 2022. Libraries may elect to take over the ongoing costs when funding ends. Hotspot  lending is on track to begin by mid August, 2021.

Please continue to check here for progress, guidance regarding device set-up, use, and troubleshooting; marketing materials; example circulation policies/templates; hotspot program FAQs, etc.

Funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the hotspot lending program focuses on IMLS' primary goal for these funds, digital inclusion.

Program Timeline

Dates Activities

May 12 – 26, 2021

Survey to Assess Library Interest - Complete

MBLC released a survey to all public library directors requesting information on current hotspot lending, cellular services in the library's service area, and interest in participation in the new program. 307 of 369 (83%) libraries responsed.   Of those, 93% were very or somewhat interested.

June 1 - July 15, 2021

Vendor Selection and Contracting - Complete

MBLC analyzed the survey results to determine how many hotspots to procure in total, whether a single vendor or multiple vendors will be necessary, and approximately how many hotspots will be allocated to each library.

MBLC entered into a relationship with T-Mobile to provide over 3,000 hotspots to 217 public libraries as well as the Talking Book libraries at Perkins and Worcester.   Approximately 6 municipalites determined that they would not have sufficient coverage with T-Mobile.  An alternative service will be considered later in the summer.

June 14, 2021

Q&A with MBLC - Complete

MBLC ran a Q&A sessions to discuss the  program with libraries considering participation.

June 7 -24, 2021

Formal Request for Participation - Complete

Libraries completed a brief form confirming their wish to participate and certify that they will abide by the program rules.

Late June, 2021

Notification to Each Participant

MBLC will notify each partipating library about the number of hotspots, the vendor selected for that city/town, and the estimated delivery date.

July 15 - , 2021

Hotspots Delivered to Libraries

T-Mobile  / Franklin T9 hotspots and cases begin shipping on or around Thursday, July 15th.  

July / August, 2021

Orientation and Training

Libraries will receive initial training to help them prepare to circulate hotspots.

Initial presentations from  scheduled T-Mobile and Franklin Wireless on:  July 29th at 1pm, August 3rd at 11am, and August 4th at 3pm

Late Summer 2021 – September 2022

Libraries continue to lend hotspots

Libraries circulate hotspots.  Circulation figures will be reported as part of normal ARIS data collection.

October 1, 2022

Libraries keep hotspots or return to MBLC

MBLC will no longer pay for mobile hotspot data plans or monthly equipment costs, if any, after September, 2022.  The ARPA funds supporting this program through IMLS must be expended by this deadline.

Libraries will have the option to take over monthly costs for some or all of the hostpots received at that time.

For More Information

Hotspot Program Questions:
answers@mblc.state.ma.us

Paul Kissman, Library Information Systems Specialist
617-725-1860 x238
(in Massachusetts) 800-952-7403 x238
paul.kissman@mass.gov

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