Public Library Mobile Hotspot Lending Program

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is developing a program to distribute hotspots to public libraries for loan to library users.

The MBLC will work provide hotspots and cover the cost of the hotspot device and internet service / data plan through the end of September 2022. Libraries may elect to take over the ongoing costs when funding ends. Our plan is to have the lending program up and running as soon as possible in the new fiscal year.

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

MBLC releases 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. The survey remains open for two weeks.

May 26 – June 11, 2021

Vendor Selection and Contracting

MBLC will analyze 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 will contract with one or more vendors.

Early June, 2021

Q&A with MBLC

MBLC will run one or more Q&A sessions to discuss the upcoming program with libraries considering participation.

Mid June, 2021

Formal Request for Participation

Libraries will complete 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, 2021

Hotspots Delivered to Libraries

July / August, 2021

Orientation and Training

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

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.

Hotspots Links & Program Materials

Program Status

Application Form (deadline 6/18)

June 14 Q&A Session Slides (PDF)

T-Mobile WebTitan Filter Categories

Links to a FAQ, procedures, social media and graphics, and other related materials will appear here as the program ramps up.

For More Information

Hotspot Program Questions:

Paul Kissman, Library Information Systems Specialist
617-725-1860 x238
(in Massachusetts) 800-952-7403 x238