If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that with today’s technological advances, we can do a whole lot with a little help from the internet. Some employees have worked from home since March, accomplishing just as much – if not more – than they would have in an office setting. Some companies (Zillow, Twitter and Square, most notably) have announced that employees can work from home indefinitely, if they so choose. Even at the Delaware County District Library, we have a handful of staff who accomplish their full workload from home, some who have a blended schedule, and others who prefer an office setting.
However, none of those accomplishments can happen if there is no computer access or internet service at home. According to the 2018 American Community Survey, 8% of Delaware City Schools households do not have a computer or tablet device in their home. An even greater number, 14%, do not have internet access at home. These numbers echo those of the nation, at 7% and 13%.
Since its beginning, the Delaware County District Library’s WiFi hotspot lending program has been a huge success. The library currently has 50 hotspots in rotation for checkout, and every one is currently in a patron’s home, with a short waitlist in the queue. Just a year or two later, the library added wireless-enabled Chromebooks for students to borrow. At this writing, just four of the 13 are available for checkout.
Now, DCDL has one more tool to add to our toolbelt of wireless solutions for the community. A special wireless internet extender, called a MoFi device, has been affixed to each of the library’s branches to extend the library’s wireless signal much further into the surrounding area.
This means that up to 250 devices (tablets, laptops, phones, etc.) within 1,000 feet of each branch will be able to connect to the library’s wireless signal at any given moment of the day. The signal is always on, and no passwords are needed to connect. Though the branches aren’t currently open for walk-in browsing or public computer usage, we hope this provides another solution to help the community.
I recently used a similar service when visiting my hometown a few months ago. This particular library had designated wireless parking spaces. I was grateful to borrow a faster internet speed than my guest accommodations provided. I simply drove up, parked, connected my laptop to the wireless signal, and completed my work.
I hope you or someone you know will find these services useful. The Delaware County District Library is here for you. If there’s anything we can add or do better, don’t hesitate to let us know. Speaking of advances in technology, maybe you’ll want to explore some of the best science fiction of 2020 with these titles.
• “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars” by Christopher Paolini. A space voyager living her dream of exploring new worlds lands on a distant planet ripe for colonization before her discovery of a mysterious relic transforms her life and threatens the entire human race.
• “The Network Effect” by Martha Wells. When Murderbot’s human associates are captured and need its help, it must choose between inertia and drastic action, in this first, full-length standalone novel about a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction.
• “The Space Between Worlds” by Micaiah Johnson. A cross-dimensional examination of identity, privilege and belonging follows the adventures of a rare survivor whose counterparts in other realities have died and who stumbles on a dangerous secret threatening her new home and fragile place in it.
• “Axiom’s End” by Lindsay Ellis. The co-creator of the “It’s Lit!” web series presents the alternate-history tale of a woman who becomes an interpreter for an unknown being when her estranged whistleblower father launches a media frenzy about a first-contact cover-up.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!