Concluded - Public Library Mobile Hotspot Lending Program

Hotspot Program Ends October 1, 2022

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners provided 3000 hotspots to 220 public libraries for loan to library users for 14 months, from August 2021 through September 2022.   The hotspot lending program was funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and addressed one of IMLS' primary goals for these funds, digital inclusion.

 Map showing participating library locations

Map of libraries circulating hotspots

 


Post-Program Cleanup

All data services end on October 1.  That means that, if you didn't make your own arrangements with T-Mobile,  the hotspots will no longer function.

To continue using these same hotspots and T-Mobile, you will need to contact both T-Mobile and Franklin/Pintrac

T-Mobile

T-Mobile State/Local Sales will set you up with a local billing account and they will either move your hotspot phone numbers over to the new account. Or, they will issue you new SIM cards for your hotspots.  You also may want to consider just getting new, replacement hotspots, which would be under warranty at approximately $90/hotspot.

Ryan Lopes
(425)331-7047

Franklin/Pintrac

You will only need to contact Franklin  if:

  1. You liked the Pintrac MDM dashboard, and you want to continue to use it, or
  2. You want to continue to use the MBLC hotspots —rather than replace them with new ones— if you did not "unlock" your hotspots before October 1st.
Jennifer Schwartz at Franklin
(619)301-6365

The t-mobile-hotspots@mblc.state.ma.us mailing list will remain live through October.


Outcomes

MBLC will collect data from libraries through mid-October and provide a summary report later in the fall.  Total circulation figures, collaborations with other entities, such as municipal housing authorities, satisfaction with the program, and libraries' commitments to continue lending hotspots as a means of increasing digital inclusion will be addressed.

Library Survey

Every participating library must complete this brief survey by October 20, 2022.  Questions?  Contact answers@mblc.state.ma.us.

Stories from Patrons!

The MBLC is very interested in anecdotes that you may have gathered over the course of the program. Did patrons find the hotspots valuable?  What did the hotspots enable patrons to accomplish that they might not otherwise have been able to?   We will report selected anecdotes IMLS as part of our report on the use of these federal funds.

Send your stories to paul.kissman@mass.gov.


Program Description

Equipment and Service

Each library received:

  • 5 or more Franklin T9 hotspots.  Several urban libraries received 100 or more devices.

  • Unlimited data through T-Mobile. T-Mobile had wide coverage over most of Massachusetts.  Six libraries without good coverage, received separate, small grants for alternative vendors.

  • A case to hold each hotspot and charging cable.

Managing Hotspots

Libraries were provided with direct access to both the T-Mobile dashboard and the Franklin/Pintrac MDM (Mobile Devices Management) platform to manage their own hotspots.  The MBLC made extensive use of Pintrac to manage all hotspots distributed across the state.

Content Filtering

Per requirements from IMLS under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) for the use of these federal funds, hotspots had content filtering enabled by default.  Libraries were able to disable filtering upon request by any adult (age 17 or older).

Reporting

Libraries were required to gather circulation statistics and encouraged to point borrowers to a paper or online survey.

Though there was no requirement, libraries were encouraged to reach out to underserved populations, either directly or through community partners and promote the availability of the hotspots.


For More Information

Paul Kissman, Library Information Systems Specialist
617-725-1860 x238
857-488-6845 (Mobile)
paul.kissman@mass.gov