‘Wi-Fi-to-Go’ program expanded due to demand

By Dean Wright - deanwright@civitasmedia.com

GALLIPOLIS — Having encountered a healthy demand for wi-fi hotspots, the Bossard Memorial Library recently expanded its “Wi-Fi-to-Go” program from 20 units to 40.

“We started with 20 initially when we started the program in March,” said Library Director Debbie Saunders. “The service was so popular and in such high demand that the library administration board made the decision to add an additional 20 units. So we now have 40.”

Saunders said the initial hotspots circulated 44 times in March. The board approved the placement of the 20 additional hotspots in the April board meeting.

“Currently, we’ve got about a 137 people on hold (waiting to use a hotspot),” said Saunders. “We have a little bit larger than a three-to-one ratio on holds. The wait right now is probably sitting at about four to six weeks to get a unit. Then they would have unlimited data on the hotspot for a period of 14 days when they checkout. So, it’s been very popular.”

“We’ve had responses from patrons who use the hotspots while traveling,” continued Saunders. “Perhaps, their children are in activities that warrant them being on the road. Either academic or sports. They’re able to put the hotspot in the car to keep their kids entertained and have that connectivity. We’ve had home schoolers that have made use of the hotspot.”

Many of the student families have used the hotspot to supplement pay-as-you-go plans while doing homework.

“Those out in the county who have not been able to have (internet) access, they’re telling us they’re having much greater success instead of just their cell phones. Unfortunately, internet access is still limited down here.”

Saunders said she believes the library’s hotspot program is one of the first of its kind in southeast Ohio, although she is aware it has been done in other parts of the state.

Saunders said she tries to watch the ratio of hotspots out and wait times to make certain patrons do not feel discouraged that they may never be able to use a hotspot. There is a possibility the library may examine more hotspots in the future, if financial resources allow and demand is great enough.

To sign up for a hotspot, one simply needs a Bossard Memorial Library card.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright