News Release

SBC library to start lending Chromebooks, hotspots starting in 2023

Library cardholders may fill an interest form so they may be notified when equipment is available.

Information provided by SBC Free Library 

The San Benito County Free Library announced it will lend Chromebook computers and Mi-Fi hotspots starting in January 2023. This adds to the collection of books, movies, video games, and other items they lend to the public. The release said the library aims to support community members in need of digital access.

According to Allconnect, Mi-Fi is a small portable router that acts as a mobile hotspot for devices such as cellphones, computers and tablets.

It added the SBCFL Connect program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act approved by Congress in March of 2021 to help schools and libraries provide critical online resources to students and library patrons by addressing needs for remote learning and equitable access.

“Providing educational resources that connect students to college and career readiness, digital literacies, foundational literacies, mentorships, scholarships, and workforce development components inspire innovation and exploration,” the release said. “Included in the plan is the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), which is designed to increase broadband internet access in the community. Schools and libraries across the country were invited to submit proposals for the grants, of which the San Benito County Free Library received $11.4 million.”

“This is a wonderful example of how the library, through unity and collaboration, can creatively responds to serve our community’s needs,” said San Benito County Librarian Nora Conte. “These resources provide important online access that can support education, healthcare services, employment options and connect them to a myriad of County services.”

The release said San Benito County Free Library (SBCFL) cardholders with financial and educational need will be able to check out an ACER Chromebook 311, Mi-Fi Hotspot device, and charging cables free of charge for the lifespan of the equipment, while supplies last.

“Interested community members are encouraged to fill out a SBCFL Connect Interest Form and library staff will contact them once the equipment becomes available,” the release said.

It added that at the time of equipment checkout, program participants will need to present a valid San Benito County Free Library card and will be required to sign an attestation form certifying financial and educational need. Minors will need to have a parent or caregiver complete the form to check out a Chromebook and/or hotspot. Community members who do not yet have a San Benito County Free Library card can register for one in person at the library, located at 470 5th Street in Hollister, or online at https://sbcfl.org/my-account/get-a-library-card/.

The library said to help SBCFL borrowers maximize their Chromebooks and Hotspots, quick-start guides will be distributed at checkout, computer classes and Tech Tutorials will be available in person at the library, and video tutorials will be available online at https://sbcfl.org/sbcfl-connect/.

The library added that it has partnered with EdTechnologyFundsIT Management CorporationGoogle, and Fortinet to make the SBCL Connect program possible.

Visit https://sbcfl.org/sbcfl-connect/, visit the library in person, or call (831) 636-4107 for more information.

BenitoLink Staff