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The NYPL’s “Check Out the Internet” project will lend WiFi hotspots for up to one year at a time and plans to distribute the service through various educational initiatives already running across its neighborhood library branches—for example, Out of School Time programs, technology training classes, and courses in English for speakers of other languages.
The NYPL actually launched a mini version of the program last month, distributing 100 devices across four library branches. According to NYPL president Tony Marx, it’s still too early to draw any conclusions from the 100-household pilot, but they’ve already begun collecting data like how much time participants are spending online and whether they’re using the devices at home or elsewhere. This information will guide the larger roll-out aimed at 10,000 households with an anticipated cost of $1 million. The Knight Foundation grant will get the NYPL half of the way there, and the library is currently trying to fundraise for the rest.
More on the Chicago program and future endeavors in the article.