The Des Moines Public Library now offers hotspots available to check out! The hotspots are available thanks to a $164,000 grant from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a federal program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The goal of this program is to provide high-speed internet to those who lack broadband access.
“One of the Des Moines Public Library’s most important strategic initiatives is to help bridge the digital divide that exists in our community,” Susan A. Woody, Des Moines Public Library Director, said. “By offering hundreds of wireless hotspots to those without easy access to high-speed internet, we can provide opportunities for learning, work, job hunting, and more.”
With these funds, the library purchased 500 hotspots to check out to residents who do not currently have access to high-speed internet in their homes. 100 of the hotspots are now available to check out from any of the library's six branches, available on a first-come, first-served basis to cardholders who live in Des Moines, Windsor Heights, or rural Polk County. Each of these can be borrowed for two weeks, with no renewals.
In addition, 400 hotspots are reserved for long-term checkouts. Eligible cardholders will be able to keep those hotspots through June 30, 2022. Talk to a librarian for more information on these.
Why Use a Hotspot?
There are a variety of great uses for hotspots:
- If you have slow or no WiFi, hotspots are a great way to provide internet access for your home to communicate with family, do homework, job search, and more - all from the comfort of your home.
- Grab a hotspot if you're traveling for work so you don't have to worry about the airport, hotel, and coffee shop WiFi strength.
- If you're getting close to your data limit, bringing a hotspot with you can keep you under the line.
- Increase your battery life by using a hotspot instead of data.
- Borrow a hotspot during a road trip to keep the kids occupied while reducing your family's data usage.
- Bring a hotspot home when your hosting guests to lessen the load on the family WiFi network.
- Have a big video game player at home? Grab a hotspot to provide reliable internet for yourself while they're mashing buttons.
Long-Term Hotspot Checkouts
400 hotspots are available for long-term use, through June 30, 2022. These hotspots are being reserved for people without access to high speed internet.
If you or someone you know is eligible and interested in this program, please come to any Des Moines Public Library branch and talk with a staff member, or email Community Engagement Librarian Ashley Molzen at ARMolzen@dmpl.org.
People interested in this program will need to fill out the Hotspot Checkout Agreement.
Hotspot Checkout Eligibility
- Must be DMPL cardholder. Get a card HERE.
- Must be 18 years or older
- Must live in Des Moines, Windsor Heights, or rural Polk County
- Must fill out an application noting that you do not have high-speed internet access.
What is a hotspot?
A portable WiFi hotspot is a pocket-sized mobile device. It uses wireless internet to help you connect your devices to the internet without having to plug into anything. Examples of devices you could use with a WiFi hotspot are Chromebooks, iPads and other tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
How do I borrow a hotspot?
To borrow one of the 100 hotspots available for two-week public checkout, ask library staff at the information desk if any are available, or let them know you have one on hold. Before checking out a hotspot, you will be required to sign the Hotspot Checkout Agreement (available upon checkout).
Can I place a hold on a hotspot?
Yes. Go to this page and then click "place hold." Hotspots may be placed on hold at any locations and may be returned to any location.
How long can I check out a hotspot?
You may check out a hotspot for two weeks. All hotspots must be returned by the due date, and no renewals are allowed.
Are there late fees?
Yes. Overdue hotspots will accrue penalties of 50 cents per day. After six days, a lost item charge will be placed on a borrower's account.
How long does is the hotspot's battery life?
The battery lasts about eight hours while being used, and up to 48 hours while being unused.
How do I get tech support if I have an issue with my hotspot?
Reach out to us! See here for the ways to contact us with your question.