Access to technology key focus for Mississauga libraries

The Mississauga Library is launching two free new pilot platforms to give library users better access to technology and the Internet using Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebooks.

“Our job as a public library is to understand the unique needs of our users,” said Lori Kelly, library director. “We exist so that residents can learn, discover and create. Programs like these are essential because they focus on digital literacy and inclusion and ensure that people can access the resources and information they need, when they need them.”

The Chromebooks and hotspots were both purchased through a provincial grant.

The Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing in the Google cloud. However, there are a variety of applications that can be run offline. Chromebooks allow more flexible use of technology for users in the library allowing for better collaborative use like group work. The library’s Chromebooks can be used anywhere inside the library and cannot be removed from the building. They are available at the Cooksville, Sheridan and Malton locations. Chromebooks can be borrowed until the library closes, however, cannot be reserved. Users must use a valid youth or adult library card.

The library has purchased 10 hotspot devices to improve access to Wi-Fi and provide a new way for users to access the Internet. As a pilot, hotspots launched in mid-September and are currently available at the Cooksville library for a seven-day loan period. Similar to a Wi-Fi network, hotspots can be used at home, work or on the go to connect any device to the Internet.

“Today, people expect to be able to find and access information from wherever they are,” said Kelly. “By introducing our hotspot pilot platform, library users can now connect to the Internet anywhere they go. The library is committed to looking for new and innovative ways to introduce technology and improve access to information for all Mississauga residents.”

Last year, the city began updating its long-range plan for the library over the next five years. The plan looks at the number of residents using city-run programs, services and facilities and seeks to understand what the community sees as priorities. One of the six priorities for the library’s plan is to invest in technology to bridge the digital divide with hotspot and Chromebook lending being a deliverable in the plan.

Visit mississauga.ca/library for more information about the Chromebook and hotspot pilot platforms, or to find out more about the library.

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