POLK COUNTY — Not everyone can afford to hook into regular internet service. For them, the area’s three libraries in Dallas, Monmouth and Independence have the answer — mobile hot spots.

Now available to anyone with a library card, the libraries were each given 10 of the devices to hook their patrons up to the internet. According to Independence Library Manager Patrick Bodily, you just check them out and turn them on.

“They are a WiFi connection point to hook any device up through the internet,” he said.

The hot spots were provided to members of the Consortium of Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service in Polk, Marine and Yamhill counties. Bodily said they were paid by an Institute of Museum and Library Services funded grant of $165,000.

The hot spots come in a bag with instructions and can be checked out in one of two time frames — 21 days or 90 days.

For now, the hot spots are not on the library catalog. Patrons will have to call to reserve one.  

“We’re working on advertising all sorts of ways to let people know they’re there,” Bodily said.

“I want to emphasize how lucky we are to be part of consortium. This was not something we can do on our own,” he added.

Even before the recent power outages, Bodily said there was a high demand for the hot spots as schools went to online learning. In addition, the demand for internet access also grew as demand for the COVID-19 vaccine highly recommended signing up for an appointment online.

“One thing we’ve seen, the internet is a commodity that should be available, and we’re happy to bring that service to people,” Bodily said.

He added each library will evaluate the use and demand for the hot spots to determine if 10 is enough for each location, if more will be needed and which length of checkout was utilized most.

To learn more about hotspots call: Dallas — 503-623-2633; Independence — 503-838-1811; or Monmouth — 503-838-1932.

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