Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Red Wing Public Library, beginning on Monday, December 2 you will be able to check out from us, for free, a mobile hotspot. So what is a mobile hotspot? It’s the little (and I do mean little – about the size of a deck of cards) thing pictured to the left. It’s a device that connects to a cellular network (Sprint, in this case) and using that connection, creates a Wifi network for up to 10 devices. The download speed will vary depending on signal strength and network load but even when it’s at the slower end will allow users to do pretty much anything except really bandwidth intensive activities, like online gaming or Ultra HD video. Furthermore, there is no data cap, no automatic throttling and no charge to users! You can use them anywhere in the US that the Sprint 4G LTE network can provide signal.

Anybody who lives in Goodhue County and has a library card from us or someone who has purchased a library card from us can check one out.

Access to the Internet is so so important for simply getting by in today’s society. There are many of our fellow Goodhue County residents who don’t have that access. One public library is not going to be able to fix the problem of the digital divide between the haves and have nots. We already make a difference by providing free wired access but that is limited to a specific place (the library) and specific time (when we are open). With mobile hotspots we will be able to help people in places and ways we could not before. The library has always been a place where people could find information and entertainment through checking out the books and movies and stuff we have there. Now we are very excited about the prospect of being able to check out the Internet to our patrons!