Pelham library may soon offer access to wireless Internet

The Pelham Public Library may soon have hotspot devices for residents to check out. (File)

The Pelham Public Library may soon have hotspot devices for residents to check out. (File)

By Briana Harris / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham residents without wireless Internet may soon have access to hotspot devices through the Pelham Public Library.

Library Director Mary Campbell requested an additional $2,350 in the library’s fiscal 2017 budget to provide five hotspot devices for Pelham residents. Hotspot devices provide on-the-go access to the Internet and can be used anywhere. Fiscal 2017 begins on Oct. 1.

“We really want to do this because it’s not really feasible for some residents to spend $100-$200 on the device and then pay a monthly service fee,” Campbell said.

If approved, the city would a pay a monthly service fee of $27 per month for five devices from T-Mobile, which would equal $1,600 per year. Each device costs $150, which would amount to $750, but Campbell said the city might be able to receive the devices for free through a T-Mobile library aid program.

Campbell said residents would be able to check out the devices for one week at a time. Campbell said the age limit to check out the device would be either 18 or 19 years old, and there would be late fees if the devices aren’t returned on time.

Once the device becomes 24 hours overdue, the library will cut off service and if it isn’t returned at all, the person will be billed for the cost of the device and services will be disconnected.

“This is just another way for us to provide worthwhile services to the public,” she said.

North Shelby Library and some libraries in Jefferson County already have similar programs, she said.

The library also plans to offer more robotics classes for teenagers interested in technology and is hoping to receive a grant for a 3D printer. The library already has a Minecraft robotics class that is really popular, Campbell said. She said a Lego Mindstorms class might also be started.

“We’ve always looked for ways to bring in more teens,” she said. “We tried the traditional methods like book clubs and crafts, but that just wasn’t working.”

For those looking to sharpen their computer skills, the library offers one-on-one lessons for basic computer skills.

For more information about library services, go to PelhamLibrary.com.