Get Connected: Chromebook Laptops & WiFi Hotspots
Need a computer and internet access? Allegany County Library System now lends Chromebook laptops and WiFi hotspots. Get connected and reserve a laptop and hotspot by placing a request on our catalog or by contacting the library. Chromebook laptops are available at all branches and WiFi hotspots are available at the South Cumberland Library. WiFi hotspots at the other locations have been temporarily suspended.
- Job searching/job applications
- Scheduling a doctor’s appointment
- Finding COVID-19 and vaccine information
- Connecting with loved ones
- Using digital library resources: reading newspapers and magazines, writing your resume
Access on your schedule!
About Get Connected:
The purpose of this program is to provide internet access and equipment to the residents of Allegany County and close the digital divide in our community. These tools will assist in closing the digital divide in the areas of student academic performance, addressing unemployment, and increasing access to telemedicine resources.
As information continues to migrate exclusively to the Internet this leaves a substantial portion of the population without access to necessary information. Throughout Allegany County 24.1% of households do not have home Internet, a mobile subscription, or are using dial-up only.¹ By supplying hotspots to these areas it would help individuals with employment opportunities, bridge the digital divide, provide access to health information (especially seniors), allow school age children access to online resources and the ability to complete online coursework, and offer connectivity to financially disadvantaged patrons².
According to the FCC “advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion” and mobile hotspot programs across the country are stepping into this digital divide³⁴. The outcomes consistently show that not only is this programming bridging in new and diverse patrons, but it reaches the intended target audience with beneficial results⁵.
Funding for the Get Connected program comes from the City of Cumberland Community Development Block Grant and the Western Maryland Regional Library.
Chromebooks are small laptops with WiFi capabilities that run Google’s Chrome OS. Users can Create and edit documents, access the internet, video conference and use online library services from home (Kanopy, databases, eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, tutorials).
WiFi Hotspots are internet access points that allow you to connect to a WiFi network using your computer, smartphone or another device.
- Adults 18 years or older are eligible to borrow Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots, with a ACLS library card in good standing.
- The borrower must be present to borrow a device.
- Each borrower must:
- Complete and sign the borrowing agreement each time they borrow a device,
- Complete the demographic survey,
- Initial the checklist that all components of the device are present prior to check out and upon return.
- Renewals will be based upon availability.
Your data, documents, emails, and other files
The Chromebooks do NOT have a hard drive to save your data, documents, email or files.
Chromebooks work best if you have a “cloud storage” account like a GMail, GSuite, Office 365, or DropBox. That way after you log on to your account, all your work is saved.
Each time you close the lid on the Chromebook or click the “Exit” or “End Session” buttons, the Chromebook will log you out of your account and erase any open work. Please SAVE your work to your “cloud storage” service or thumb drive prior to ending your session.
The Chromebook will automatically restart every 24 hours and it will log you out of your account and erase any open work in progress. Please SAVE your work and end your session when you are finished.
Any data stored on borrowed devices will be erased when the session ends and when it is returned to the library.
Proper Care and Use
- Chromebooks and WiFi Hotspots should not be left in a hot or cold vehicle.
- Do not allow Chromebooks and WiFi Hotspots to become wet.
- Do not remove the SIM card or disassemble a device for any reason.
- Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots have a 14 day loan period.
- One Chromebook and one WiFi hotspot may be borrowed per library card and household at a time.
- Each device may be renewed 2 times if others are not waiting.
- Requests/Holds may be placed on Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots.
- Requests/Holds are limited to one of each device at a time.
- Patrons must return Chromebooks and WiFi Hotspots, to the staff at the Check Out desk.
- Do not place Chromebooks or WiFi Hotspots in the return bin or book drop.
- Equipment returned with missing accessories will not be checked in until all parts have been returned.
- Chromebooks and hotspots must be checked out from and returned to the same branch of the library system.
- All data will be cleared from the devices upon return.
Fines of $5 per day will be enforced for all eligible borrowers.
Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots are considered “LOST” after three days of being overdue and patrons are assessed a replacement fee for the device.
Patrons are responsible for any equipment that is lost, damaged, or stolen. Damages resulting from accident, misuse, or neglect are the patron’s responsibility.
Chromebooks: $350 replacement fee + $35 service fee
WiFi Hotspots: $40 replacement fee + $5 service fee
The replacement fee is credited if:
- the device is returned in good condition;
- the device is returned within 5 days of being overdue;
- the device has not been replaced by the library.
Damaged or missing accessories will be charged at market rates.
Set Up and First Use
Library staff is happy to get you started by sharing the instructional material with each device.
Library staff may also be called upon to assist during normal library hours.
Please refer to the instructional materials in the case for assistance.
The Library is not responsible for information accessed using these devices or for personal information that is shared over the Internet. Information sent to or from your computer or other device can be captured by anyone else with a wireless device and special software.
ALL users are encouraged to follow safe Internet practices. Learn about internet safety here.
Illegal Activity on the Internet while borrowing a Library Hotspot
- It is illegal to download copyrighted movies or music unless you have paid for the item.
- Do not violate the law or encourage others to violate the law.
- Do not use the Internet to cause harm to others or damage to their property: engaging in defamation (harming another’s reputation by lies); impersonating another user; vandalism, including any attempt to harm or destroy data, software or hardware.
- Do not access the Internet to compromise the safety and security of minors when using email, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications.
1 2020 Census – https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/?latlng=39.58078%2C-78.55948&z=10&query=counties%3A%3A24001&promotedfeaturetype=counties&arp=arpRaceEthnicity&baselayerstate=5&rtrYear=sR2020latest&infotab=info-internet&filterQuery=false&searchbox=searchcounty&searchval=Allegany%20County%2C%20Maryland
2 Whitacre, B. (2008). Extensions’ role in bridging the broadband digital divide: Focus on supply or demand? Journal of Extension, 46(3), Article 3RIB2. Available at: https://www.joe.org/joe/2008june/rb2.php
3 Federal Communications Commission. (2018a). 2018 broadband deployment report (FCC‐18‐10). Retrieved from https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC‐18‐10A1.pdf
Federal Communications Commission. (2018b). Internet access services as of 12/31/16. Retrieved from https://www.fcc.gov/Internet‐access‐services‐reports
4 Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion, and Possible Steps to Accelerate Such Deployment Pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as Amended by the Broadband Data Improvement Act, GN Docket No. 15‐191, 2016 Broadband Progress Report, 31 FCC Rcd 699, 701, para. 2 (2016) (2016 Report).