The Evanston Public Library is more than doubling the size of its Wi-Fi Hotspot lending program.

Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons says the test of the program that started last spring with 30 devices showed the demand exceeded the supply.

So now the library has a total of 70 devices to lend out and has doubled the loan period for the Hotspots from two to four weeksr to give patrons more time to use the devices which provide free Wi-Fi service to-go.

In a library survey last year, 14 percent of respondents said they have no Wi-Fi in their home.

The library is also beginning a new pilot project — making an additional 15 devices available for student checkout at Evanston Township High School and 10 more at Lincoln Elementary School.

Data from from Sprint, the Hotspot service provider, indicated that highest usage was in southeast Evanston and the area around Evanston Township High School. Lyons said that EPL will continue to analyze data on usage as the program expands. 

The program was made possible in part by a $15,000 Responsive Grant from the Evanston Community Foundation.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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