This sounds like the type of open inquiry you'd find on the question and answer website, Quora, but I can't believe the amount of different things libraries now lend. I did a short inventory, and perhaps the strangest things I've heard about recently are the quad-copter drones for loan to students at the University of South Florida Library.
We just found out that TechSoup donor partner Mobile Beacon was chosen by the New York Public Library (NYPL) to provide 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspot devices as part of the library's mobile hotspot lending program.
Last summer we covered the big library tech news that mobile hotspot lending is finally getting national press. Libraries across the country have been lending out free Internet access for home use for some time now, but the trend got national attention when the New York and Chicago Public Libraries launched large-scale hotspot lending.
NYPL's program was so successful that the library has massively expanded the program.
For the last 17 years, the E-rate program has helped provide schools and libraries across the U.S. with subsidized Internet service.
With almost one-third of Americans still not connected to the Internet, there has been consistent demand for increased E-rate funding. For example, TechSoup's donor partner, Mobile Beacon, has an infographic on its homepage showing that nearly 50 percent of U.S. libraries still lack sufficient Internet access to meet their patrons' needs.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) responded this July with an E-rate modernization plan to increase funding to libraries and schools for high-capacity Wi-Fi and broadband.
Librarians and patrons know that public libraries have been quietly developing excellent collections of e-books. But free library e-books got a big publicity splash recently when The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) personal technology writer, Geoffrey Fowler, did a comparison of Amazon's $10 per month Kindle Unlimited service and his local library's free e-book lending.
Fowler's WSJ piece is called Why the Public Library Beats Amazon — for Now. Guess what his conclusion is?
Move over bookmobiles, there’s a new way to get library services out into the community. I’m calling it a “library in a box”. It was devised by Susan Allen at Worthington Libraries in Ohio. It's not very expensive, and I think it's a genius idea.
It’s not news that libraries have ample digital collections of eBooks, magazines and academic journals, music and much more. Imagine being able to show people all the resources your library can offer, wherever people happen to be hanging out.
After the Zion-Benton Illinois Library had some of their expensive laptops stolen and broken, they didn't give up on loaning out laptops to patrons. Instead, they decided to try using sturdier, but less expensive refurbished laptops. Here's how they did it.
The fabled ancient library of Alexandria was one of the great achievements in human history. Its mission was to compile all knowledge in one place. Its greatest fame came when it burned 2,000 years ago.
Information Technology Exchange (ITE), a charity in Belfast, Maine (near Bangor) operates the PCs for Maine program, which provides refurbished computers to schools, nonprofits, and libraries for use as public access stations. What is unusual is not that this low-cost equipment is available to Maine libraries, but that it is becoming popular. How did this happen?
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