Computer Access for Dallas Residents Is Easier with New Laptops
Dallas Public Library is making it easier for residents who need computer access: laptops bundled with hotspots to borrow using their library cards.
The first 100 Chromebook+Hotspot bundles will roll out this week at nine library locations. Chromebooks are laptops built exclusively to access the internet. An additional 1,125 Laptop+Hotspot bundles will be released in April at 20 locations. Those computers will be loaded with Microsoft Office.
The Chromebooks are funded through a grant from the Texas State Library and Archive Commission and are specified for neighborhoods with the greatest digital divide. The laptops were purchased with a CARES grant to help people navigate the challenges of COVID-19.
More than 42 percent of Dallas residents do not have a fixed internet connection in their homes, according to the 2016 American Communities Survey. Last year, Dallas Public Library began checking out hotspots, even before the pandemic and stay-at-home orders made internet access essential. In December, an additional 2,100 hotspots were put in circulation.
Computer and internet access are core library services that are unavailable while Dallas Public Library is closed to the public. The laptop+hotspot bundles will help serve those customers who depend on the library for more than books.
A Big Difference For Families
“These laptops are going to make a big difference for many families,” Library Director Jo Giudice said. “A hotspot alone, while great, isn’t that much help if the only device you have is a cell phone.”
Laptops can be requested online at www.dallaslibrary.org, by phone at 214-670-1400, or by contacting a local branch. The laptops, like the hotspots, can be checked out for 30 days with the option to renew if there are no outstanding requests.
Laptops can be placed on request just like a library book and picked up through the Library To Go curbside service at the designated locations. Laptops must be returned in person to the same location where they were borrowed during library open hours.
Dallas Public Library operates Library To Go curbside service at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library and 29 branch locations. A library card is free for any Dallas resident. For information on the many free programs and services available at Dallas Public Library, visit www.dallaslibrary.org.