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Stay Connected: BCPL Laptop/Hotspot Loan Program Helps Bridge Digital Divide

graphic characters using computers with a graphic that says Laptop/hotspot loan program

Have you checked out Buncombe County Public Libraries’ (BCPL) Laptop/Hotspot Loan Program? Now, more than ever, access to broadband is critical to participate in online learning, searching for jobs, accessing medical care via telehealth, or simply staying in touch with family and friends. BCPL is pleased to announce the expansion of the Library Laptop/Hotspot Loan Program inventory.

Many people in our community rely on their local library to stay connected, and now through multiple grant initiatives BCPL has close to 70 laptop/hotspot combination units and more than 40 individual hotspot units available for loan. Want to stay connected? Call (828) 250-4700 and patrons 18 and over, with a Buncombe County library card in good standing may check out a device for 4 weeks at a time.

Our BCPL employees are hearing first-hand how this program benefits community members:

"Just had a patron tell me that because she had been able to checkout a laptop with us, she got a promotion at work. So, yay!!" – Sherry Roane, West Asheville Branch Manager

"Today we helped a patron sign a laptop out. She was in here today working through a required online orientation course for a new job that has a deadline of early next week. She is juggling multiple jobs, including 3rd shift, and was worried about being able to finish this on time, especially with the library being closed this weekend.  Borrowing the laptop so she can do the training from home as her schedule permits was such a HUGE help to her. It felt like a huge win and I just wanted to share that with you!" --- Jen Waite, Pack Library Specialist

"One of our repeat users of laptop/hotspot (and longtime Oakley patron) was here today and he was beaming.  He said that because our laptop & hotspot he was able to apply for jobs, and checked out as often as he could to continue the application process; found a job, and again because of our devices was able to complete the required online orientation. He starts Monday. We gave each other virtual hugs." – Cheryl Middleton, Oakley Library Branch Manager

The fine print:

  • One unit per household (unit defined as laptop/hotspot combo or hotspot only)
  • Only patrons 18 and over with a Buncombe County library card in good standing may check out
  • 4 week checkout limit
  • $100 charge if laptop is not returned or lost
  • $30 charge if hotspot is not returned, lost, or returned damaged
  • $20 if laptop or hotspot power cord is not returned or lost
  • Patrons must call to request a device
  • Devices can be sent to any Buncombe County Library for pick up
  • Borrowers will sign a user agreement before borrowing the equipment
  • Devices cannot be renewed and will be considered lost and disabled when they are 10 days overdue
  • Devices must be returned inside (no drop boxes)
  • All laptops include Microsoft Office Suite and will have basic computer skills training videos/information loaded on to its desktop

A BCPL technology troubleshoot team will be available to assist patrons over the phone with any issues that come up with this equipment. The operational hours of this team will be from 10 a.m. until the library closes each day.

Our funding partners

This program is made possible by funding from multiple grants, including the CARES Act as instituted by the State Library of North Carolina and the Emergency Connectivity Fund, as instituted by USAC.

This program is alignment with the 2025 Buncombe County Strategic Plan and supports an educated and capable community.

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Updated Dec 07, 2022 12:46 PM
Published Apr 04, 2022 10:00 AM