The Round Rock Public Library to add pickup lockers, delivery service, and add more mobile hotspots

A full year into the pandemic, our communities still face many COVID-related challenges. One such challenge that library staff work hard to overcome is access to the information they need. How can the Round Rock Public Library continue to provide our full range of quality resources and information to our customers, especially those who feel unsafe coming to the library?

With generous financial support from the Federal Act on Coronavirus Aid, Assistance and Economic Security, Grants and City Financing, a service has been expanded in this area – the mobile hotspot checkout – and two new ones soon: lockers for outdoor libraries and a homebound delivery service.

Access to the Internet is becoming increasingly important in many facets of everyday life, but not everyone in our community can afford this technology. Mobile WiFi hotspots, which provide unlimited access to the internet 24/7, are one means by which we can help improve our customers’ ability to connect to the internet. The library has been offering mobile WiFi hotspots for the cash register since 2019. Demand is now higher than ever – fueled by the closings or limited business hours of many places that people without an internet connection at home rely on to access public WiFi, such as the public wifi B. Schools and Libraries – The city’s IT department has redirected some of its Coronavirus Relief Fund resources to increasing the number of hotspots by adding 10 more, bringing our total number of hotspots available for checkout to 20.

Accessing physical collections remotely can go a long way in providing access for people who cannot make it to the library during our normal business hours. In addition to our ongoing roadside pick-up service, the library will soon be adding a system of secure outdoor lockers. These lockers, which work similarly to the Amazon pickup lockers you’ve seen, give us and our members more flexibility in borrowing library materials during busy times, and also aid the library’s initiatives to prevent, prepare and respond to them COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen disasters. These lockers have been secured through a sponsorship program from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission that uses CARES Act funds to help improve community access to critical digital technologies and services through programs, training, or tools.

Finally, the city council and city council recently approved immediate funding for a home delivery service to provide residents with library materials that we might otherwise not be able to reach, especially while the pandemic continues. The concept of a homebound delivery and outreach service is not new to libraries. Some of us may remember visiting the “Buchmobil” as students, but it goes back further. For example, in Wyoming in the early 1900s there was a librarian who carried books in her saddlebag. According to the Wyoming State Library, “Miss Wilkinson all traveled with” Joker, “a horse that has been described as” young bay, sound in the wind and limbs. ” She had never done anything mean before. She winked at her and showed it its teeth. “She rode across the prairie without a trace, encountering inclement weather, snakes and pests, and all the people that give Wyoming its color and vitality. The tour was a success; people everywhere were hungry for an opportunity to read in a place where books and newspapers were passed from hand to hand until they fell to pieces. ”

Times have changed, but the need for this type of physical library work remains. The library staff are still working on the many logistical details of our delivery service and we look forward to providing more information soon.

As much as things may have changed during this pandemic, the need to access information remains crucial. Providing mobile hotspots, secure remote collection cabinets, and home delivery are just some of the ways the Round Rock Public Library is working to provide quality services and resources to our growing and diverse community.

Halley is the assistant director of the Round Rock Public Library.

Geeta Halley

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