The pandemic has impacted everyone in many different ways that have become hindrances to many. One of the biggest changes has been the reliance on online versions of the things most people used to enjoy: ordering food, watching movies and participating in classes.
When the WiFi will not load or when there’s no internet connection, work and entertainment screech to a halt. Throughout the pandemic, many Americans have experienced spotty internet frequencies, high internet traffic and in some cases, no internet access at all. This has been a problem for students and employees at UNC Charlotte.
“The lack of internet at home has impeded the ability to participate in courses, complete assignments or fulfill work obligations,” said Rebecca Croxton, head of assessment at Atkins Library. Now, UNC Charlotte has a fix for this problem — a mobile hotspot lending project.
In June 2021, Atkins Library receive a $49,414 grant to create an interinstitutional mobile lending hotspot program, and in September, the library was granted another $24,910 to expand the program. UNC Charlotte currently has 94 Verizon mobile hotspot devices ready to loan faculty, staff and students.
These hotspots can be borrowed from the first-floor Information and Research Desk in J. Murrey Atkins Library for seven days, with an option to renew two additional times. Verizon monthly service costs are paid using grant funds. This program ensures that anyone who needs stable and reliable internet access has an affordable way to access it and prevent further internet connection troubles. The hotspots make internet access easy with low internet traffic and fewer connection issues.
“The mobile hotspots solution will help to fulfill an unmet need for our students by providing equity of opportunity by alleviating internet connection barriers,” said Anne Cooper Moore, dean of Atkins Library.
The mobile hotspot lending project will alleviate internet stressors for students and employees so they don’t fall behind due to slow internet connections. Whether someone lives in an area where internet connection is weak or cannot afford internet access, the mobile hotspots will equalize the playing field for students and employees at UNC Charlotte.
The mobile hotspots lending project is supported by grant funds from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-250229-OLS-21).