Milwaukee Public Library
Press Release

MPL receives $100K from Impact100 to expand Hotspot program

 

By - Dec 1st, 2020 02:29 pm

The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) through the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, has been awarded $100,000 from Impact100 that will add 225 devices to its popular Hotspot lending program, which increases internet access for Milwaukee residents by allowing up to 10 devices to connect to the library’s Wi-Fi from anywhere with just one Hotspot.

“MPL is honored to receive this very generous award, and to partner with Impact100 to address the alarming disparity in internet access in Milwaukee,” said Joan Johnson, Library Director. “In the City of Milwaukee, less than 40% of low-income households have internet access at home. This population is suffering setbacks in multiple areas more than ever given the transition to online environments for school, work, medicine, finance, and the legal system as a result of the pandemic. The mission of MPL is to help residents read, learn and connect, not just to our resources but to each other and the world beyond. Thanks to the generosity of Impact100, the expansion of our Hotspot program increases our ability to do that.”

To ensure equal access for all patrons, Hotspots are available on a first-come, first-served basis at Central Library and all neighborhood branch libraries. As such, the devices cannot be held or reserved, and because they are intended for short-term, immediate use, checkout can’t be renewed in a 21-day period. If Hotspots aren’t returned after 21 days, they are deactivated. Unlike other materials in the MPL system, Hotspots must be checked out and returned to the same location. Check out is limited to patrons 18 years of age or older.

“Our grant evaluation process started long before COVID-19,” said Impact100 President Robin Martin.  “We were already impressed with the library’s transformative and impactful Hotspot project. We never imagined it would take on even more significance this year.  We are thrilled and honored to be able to support Milwaukee Public Library’s work to stay connected in these very unusual times.”

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