Seeking to help low-income families, Denver Public Library adds WiFi hot spots to items patrons can check out

Denver Public Library announced a new pilot program Monday aimed at helping low-income families access high-speed internet.

staff photo
The Denver Public Library. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)   dplbroadway; library building

The Denver Public Library. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Denver Public Library patrons can now take home WiFi hot spots in addition to the DVDs, CDs and — oh yeah— books already available. 

The library announced a new pilot program Monday aimed at helping low-income families access high-speed internet.

The Montbello, Athmar Park, Barnum, Gonzales and Hadley branches will each carry 10 hotspots that can be checked out for three weeks at a time.

Unreturned Hotspots will be deactivated, and the user will be charged the full $64 replacement fee.

Anyone with a library card can check out the hot spots, but the program is aimed at helping those who might be pinched to pay for home internet, said library spokesman Chris Henning.

The hot spots could help people who don’t have time to get on the computers at their neighborhood branches.

“This is a significant step in bridging the digital divide in communities that need it most,” Denver City librarian Michelle Jeske said in a statement.

“What we’re offering these communities is access to the world—helping them connect with family and friends, banking, job searches, school resources and entertainment.”

Denver’s pilot program is based off a similar program the New York Public Library offered in 2015. America’s premiere library district provided patrons with nearly 10,000 hot spot devices in New York City, Queens and Brooklyn.

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