Users of Kitchener Public Library’s popular wi-fi lending program will be soon be getting a gift from local tech giant Sandvine, a global leader in network policy control.
Launched in October 2015, Kitchener Public Library was the first in Canada to offer a free wi-fi hotspot lending program. Members use their library card to borrow an Internet hotspot device for up to two weeks, giving them access to unlimited data anywhere in Canada where there is Rogers cell coverage.
Earlier this year, the Ontario Library Association recognized Kitchener Public Library with an Ontario Library Information Technology Association Award for outstanding innovation in their community.
The library started the hotspot collection with 20 devices, but soon realized they were onto something big. “We knew our wi-fi lending program would be popular, but we were amazed with the response from our library users,” reports Mary Chevreau, CEO of Kitchener Public Library. “Not only does the long wait list for our few hotspot devices prove this, but sadly, it also illustrates the very real digital divide that exists in our technology-focused community.”
Thankfully the need for services like those offered by the library have not gone unnoticed by the technology sector.
Thanks to Sandvine’s generosity, the library’s wi-fi lending program will soon be getting a much needed boost, with the addition of another 20 new hotspot devices and financial support for ongoing data usage.
“Sandvine’s products help several ISPs around the world offer free Internet services to their subscribers, so we jumped at the opportunity to make a donation to the Kitchener Public Library to do the same thing for those in our own community,” said Dave Caputo, CEO, Sandvine. “Waterloo Region is flourishing thanks to the power of the Internet, and KPL’s wi-fi lending program plays an important role in ensuring that anyone in the region can have access to the empowerment it provides.”
The library’s hotspot devices are ideal for job seekers, students, or anyone who needs access to the internet or digital library resources outside library hours, or outside the library. The wi-fi hotspot devices are currently available at Central Library but will also be available at community libraries in the coming months.