Libraries_Internet_Le_Newm_999x754.jpg

In this Jan.10, 2015 photo, a mobile wireless internet hotspot lay on a desk among piles of books at the Free Public Library in New York. The New York Public Library is launching the nation’s largest Internet lending program, which provides 10,000 of these hot spots free for one year to some of the city’s poorest residents. | Verena Dobnik / AP

Some Chicago libraries to start lending Wi-Fi hotspots

SHARE Some Chicago libraries to start lending Wi-Fi hotspots
SHARE Some Chicago libraries to start lending Wi-Fi hotspots

Beginning next month, Chicago residents will be able to check out wireless Internet hotspots from three public library branches.

The Internet to Go pilot program will eventually be expanded to at least six locations in a push to shrink the digital divide.

The city says in a news release that barely 50 percent of homes in Chicago’s lowest-income neighborhoods have broadband service.

Library branches in Brighton Park, Greater Grand Crossing, and Douglass will each have 100 Wi-Fi hotspots to lend for up to three weeks at a time.

Each location will also have 10 tablets available to borrow.

The program is supported by a $400,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Google is providing $175,000.

Similar programs have recently begun in New York and other cities.

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