DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The Dallas Public Library is making it easier for residents who need computer access to get it. The information centers are now allowing residents to use their library cards to borrow laptops bundled with hotspots.

The first 100 Chromebook and hotspot bundles will roll out this week at nine library locations. An additional 1,125 laptop and hotspot bundles will be released in April — at 20 locations..

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The Chromebooks are funded through a grant from the Texas State Library and Archive Commission and are specified for neighborhoods with the greatest digital divide. The laptops were purchased with a CARES grant to help people navigate the challenges of COVID-19.

Surveys show that more than 42% of Dallas residents do not have a fixed internet connection in their homes. Last year, before the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Dallas Public Libraries began checking out hotspots. In December, an additional 2,100 hotspots were put in circulation.

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Computer and internet access are core library services that are unavailable while Dallas Public Library is closed to the public. The laptop and hotspot bundles will help serve those customers who depend on the library for more than books.

“These laptops are going to make a big difference for many families,” Library Director Jo Giudice said. “A hotspot alone, while great, isn’t that much help if the only device you have is a cell phone.”

Laptops can be requested online at the library website, by phone at 214-670-1400, or by contacting a local branch. The laptops and hotspots can be checked out for 30 days with the option to renew if there are no outstanding requests.

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Laptops can be placed on request just like a library book and picked up through the Library To Go curbside service at the designated locations. Laptops must be returned in person to the same location where they were borrowed during library open hours.

CBSDFW.com Staff