Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Williamsburg Regional Library announces initiative to provide community free internet access

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)

For those without access to WiFi, the Williamsburg Regional Library is coming to the rescue.

The Williamsburg Regional Library announced Thursday it would be starting a new initiative to supply WiFi hotspots throughout the area.

“We know that many people in our community depend on the library for internet access,” said Betsy Fowler, library director, in a news release. “And we want to be able to continue to offer this essential service even while the buildings are closed.”

The initiative, funded by the Friends of the Williamsburg Regional Library, will help those who don’t have internet connection in their home by providing hotspots in ways that adhere to social distancing protocols. This helps support the direction from Gov. Ralph Northam, who urged communities to provide access to essential services for low-income residents.

“We’re working every day to find creative answers to how we can continue to provide the library’s many valuable services to our community during this challenging time,” Fowler said.

The hotspots will also help break barriers in access to education for local students while schools remain closed. According to the Williamsburg Regional Library, approximately 10 to 15 percent of students in Williamsburg-James City County don’t have consistent internet access.

The library has bought additional WiFi hotspots that allow for 15 simultaneous connections and will be available at various locations around the area as well as stationary hotspot locations. Library staff will park vehicles from the Mobile Library Services in parking lots and neighborhoods where people can park near them and access the internet.

The hotspots will project an internet signal that will be sufficiently strong enough to reach a 30-foot distance around the library’s vehicle and allows for 15 devices to be used simultaneously.

This method allows users to access the hotspots while not getting too close to each other.

Users do not have to have a library card to access the hotspots.

Hotspots will be available at the following locations starting next week:

Mondays

  • James Blair Middle School, 101 Longhill Road, from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • James From Elementary School and Abram Frink Jr. Community Center, 8901 Pocahontas Trail, from 8 to 11 a.m.
  • Quarterpath Crossing, 1470 Quarterpath Road, from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Ewell Station, 5601 Richmond Road, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Tuesdays

  • Monticello Marketplace, 4680 Monticello Avenue, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Settlers Market and Walmart Neighborhood Market, 4670 Casey Blvd., from 10 a.m. to noon.

Wednesdays

  • Toano Middle School, 7817 Richmond Road, from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Warhill High School, 4615 Opportunity Way, from 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Williamsburg Crossing, 5235 John Tyler Highway, from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • ALDI Grocery Store, 1504 Richmond Road, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursdays

  • Lightfoot Marketplace, 6485 Centerville Road, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Candle Factory Shopping Center, 7537 Richmond Road, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Fridays

  • Grove Christian Outreach Center, 8800 Pocohontas Trail, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • James-York Plaza, 701 Merrimac Trail, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Midtown Row, 1234 Richmond Road, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Walmart Supercenter, 731 East Rochambeau Drive, from 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Governors Green, 4511 John Tyler highway, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Saturdays

  • Dollar General, 7147 Richmond Road, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Williamsburg Marketcenter, 6610 Mooretown Road, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

There will also be stationary WiFi hotspot locations at the following:

  • Dollar General, 8766 Pocahontas Trail.
  • Home Cooking, 8953 Pocahontas Trail.
  • Powhatan Apartments, 226 Burton Woods Drive.
  • Burnt Ordinary, 7901 Sterling Drive.
  • Merrimac Crossing, 159 Merrimac Trail.

WiFi access is also available in the parking lots at all three locations of the library:

  • Williamsburg Library, 515 Scotland St.
  • Stryker Center, 412 North Boundary St.
  • James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Road.

The hotspot locations will continue to provide access to the internet for as long as needed.

“We’re proud to be pioneering new and exciting ways to keep our users connected with the resources they need,” Fowler said. “We are grateful to the Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library for helping us meet this crucial need.”

For more information, visit the Williamsburg Regional Library online.

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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