You can now check out internet hotspots at Camden County libraries

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SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — Camden County residents have been able to borrow books and movies from libraries. Now, they can bring home mobile internet hotspots.

Camden County Library System Director Linda Devlin said the new program is designed to help remote workers and learners who need reliable internet access.

“The pandemic definitely prompted the program,” she said. “It’s something that we’ve been thinking about, knowing that it was an issue in the community.”

The county has a total of 100 Verizon hotspots available at its eight branches. Under the program, county residents can check out and bring home a Verizon hotspot, but only for two weeks.

“We have no renewals because of the demand,” Devlin said. “We want to make sure that everybody has access to the devices. And, we do have a late fee. It’s $1 a day if they’re not returned on time for that very same reason.”

Once a hotspot is overdue, Devlin said, the library has the ability to deactivate it.

The library pays for the data used. Devlin said the library has budgeted $50,000 to cover one year of unlimited data for the hotpots.

“It's a budget priority for this year to help with the digital divide, so we are providing that access,” she added.

Devlin said the county is also developing a plan to lend Chromebooks in the coming months.