Most of us love the internet. It makes banking, shopping, eating, and entertainment incredibly convenient. Most of us though haven’t given a thought as to how we get internet other than writing what could be a substantial check every month.
The library is here to help. We are now the proud owners of two wireless hotspots. These devices use cell phone towers to broadcast wireless internet signals. In essence you could check out The Internet from our local library.
A brief and hopefully not too boring modern history of the internet. In order to access the internet you need a signal, much like you need a cable for your landline. In fact, early internet was run through your phone lines as a long distance call. I had a friend who racked up a $1000 phone bill just from internet charges. Luckily things have changed. Ingenious people invented cable television and figured out how to deliver internet through you cable television cables. That internet is sometimes called broadband internet. It varied in speed, meaning it could take a while if you want to see pictures of your grandkids or download some music. It was reliable but it had one big drawback. Your device had to be connected to the router (the device that delivers internet into your house) with a cable. This was very inconvenient so someone invented a wireless router. This kind of router takes in the internet via a cable and broadcasts it with something resembling a radio signal. If you have a device like a tablet, laptop, or firestick, that has been enabled with wireless software then you can connect to the internet anywhere in the building. It still has one drawback though… what if you want to leave the house. This is where mobile hotspots enter the picture. They use cell phone towers to broadcast wireless internet. They are purchased through a cell phone copmpany (Ours are Verizon) and you sign up for a plan and pay a monthly bill for a specific amount of use that you want. We are in luck that the State of Montana has purchased our hotspots for us and are paying for a year of service! Thank you State of Montana!!! They are usually pretty fast, but if you are in an area with spotty cell service they may not work. The best thing is that you can leave your house! It also means that our library can provide the hotspots and take care of the cell phone and you can have free access to the internet!
That sounds great, Mary, surely there is a catch. Well you are correct, there are a few small things that we ask you to do, before you take one home for a test drive.
What good will this do for me? There are so many uses. Do you have family members quarantining and trying to go to school or work remotely? Is it more than your current internet can handle? We can help. Do you not have interent, but need to do anything with the government like file taxes, access unemployment, apply for coronavirus small business aid, or get a mortgage or car loan. Most of these things have moved online and we can help. Do you want to download a book to read in a font that is large enough for you to read it? We’ve got you covered. Do you want to watch an episode of that cool show on Netflix that everyone won’t shut up about. We can help there too.
Don’t be afraid or think that this is too technical, or too fiddly, or just not your thing. We can help you at the library to set up your device to connect with our hotspots before you leave the building if you bring the device in with you.
Most of all, this is another way that our local library can help you access the information that you need. We won’t charge you a dime. Your tax dollars paid for this library and it is our duty to be as helpful to the community as possible. Come in and visit with us. Check out a book or a movie as well and see what a mobile hotspot can do for you!