On April 8, the Sonoma County Library started to lend Wi-Fi hotspots to patrons, enabling Sonoma County Library cardholders to have free access to the internet.
A pilot project, the 500 Wi-Fi hotspots will be distributed to every library branch in the county and loaned to patrons on a first-come, first-served basis.
“By ‘loaning the internet,’ our library system is helping our patrons have access to information and resources that are not always available to all, because of geographical or income constraints,” said Vicki Terbovich, the Sonoma County Library’s Information Technology Manager and the driving force behind the program.
Dubbed “SonomaFi,” the Wi-Fi hotspot lending program is a pilot. The initial lending period will be 14 days per device, and they will be available at all library branches, but cannot be placed on hold.
“Library cardholders can use these devices to help them write term papers, submit job applications, research their family history, or just surf the internet and stream a movie,” Terbovich said.
Each SonomaFi device will allow the borrower to connect multiple devices, including smartphones, computers and tablets, so an entire household can use one SonomaFi hotspot at once.
The SonomaFi devices operate on a Verizon cellular signal, which has wide coverage throughout Sonoma County, but may not reach more remote areas.
For more information on SonomaFi, visit sonomalibrary.org/sonomafi or stop in at any of the library’s 14 branches. The SonomaFi program is paid for from Measure Y sales tax funds, the community’s investment in free public libraries.
Submitted by Ray Holley