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JCLS Connect: A New Library Program for Patrons to Check out Mobile Hotspots

by Bret Fearrien on 2018-01-18T14:37:00-08:00 | Comments

How JCLS Connect Program Works

Jackson County Library Services is excited to announce that library patrons can now check out mobile hotspot devices. The new program is called JCLS Connect and it allows patrons to check out a hotspot device at any of the 15 branches in our system. To be eligible, patrons must be at least 18 years old and be in good standing. The program helps patrons gain internet access for a checkout length of 2 weeks. This program hopes to bridge the divide for those patrons who own a laptop, smartphone, etc. but who do not have residential internet in order to use it.



Possible Ways to Use JCLS Connect

A hotspot is a mobile device that allows users to connect their devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.) to the internet. Since a hotspot is a mobile device, a person could have access to the internet while traveling in a car or (possibly) even while camping. The technology is completely built on the strength of signals from cell phone towers. The hotspot can also simply sit stationary inside a residence and provide internet access for the home. ­

Users may use up to 5 GB of data per checkout—with a checkout lasting two weeks. Videos and music—particularly videos—go through data very quickly. But the user is free to use the device in such a manner if they choose. In order to use the device for internet needs on a daily basis, the device is best used to check email, browse text-heavy websites, and download music then listen offline (as opposed to streaming it). Consult the guide (“What Can I Do with 5 GB of Wireless a Month”) on our Self-Help tab for a complete breakdown of what certain internet habits look like for data consumption. For an adjustable data calculator, also consult U.S. Cellular’s estimator.  

Users could use JCLS Connect to checkout a hotspot in order to work from home on a school assignment/project, use for internet service while on a road trip, or have residential internet for a couple of weeks.

Details on How It Works (Technology)

The hotspot devices are dependent on cell phone technology and towers—as opposed to most residential internet which is based upon fiber optic cables or most rural internet which is based upon satellite signals. Patrons can consult coverage maps on a website like Open Signal.

JCLS Connect utilizes hotspot devices from two national carriers—Verizon and U.S. Cellular. The Verizon hotspots are available in the following urban branches: Medford, Central Point, Eagle Point, Phoenix, Jacksonville, White City, Talent, and Ashland. The U.S. Cellular hotspots are available in the following rural branches: Prospect, Butte Falls, Shady Cove, Ruch, Applegate, Gold Hill, and Rogue River.

Patrons can now check out the Verizon hotspots within the library catalog by performing a keyword search for “hotspot.” The U.S. Cellular hotspots will be available in a few weeks.

In our next blog post, we are going to return to the next installment of the Safe Browsing series and look at other privacy tools like VPNs vs. proxies.


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