Help Us Loan Internet Hotspots to Boost Web Access

Teens gather around laptopLack of Internet access remains a significant barrier for people of all ages in Chicago. To solve this problem, we'd like to create a "Hotspot at Home" lending program, which would enable patrons to check out an Internet hotspot for three weeks to access the web at home. We've submitted our plan to the Knight News Challenge for a grant to make this happen. You can help make it happen by reading our proposal and clicking "Applause!"

With 80 locations, we're the city's largest provider of free Internet access. We also support digital literacy and skill development by providing in-library experts, called CyberNavigators, who help Chicagoans through 98,000 Internet basics sessions each year. CyberNavigators help patrons learn to create email account, complete job applications and find credible health information on the web.

Recent studies have shown that, although outreach and training are partially effective in improving Internet use in low-income communities, the lack of access in the home remains a significant barrier. We propose to attack this problem by providing free loaned hotspots, along with loaned laptops and one-on-one training.