YOUNGSTOWN – The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) continues its work to bridge the digital divide in the Valley by rolling out its free iPad rental program. Starting this afternoon, patrons can reserve a free iPad to take home, which will be available for pick-up next week.
“We know that many in our community do not have access to the Internet, let alone the technology necessary to access the Internet. The Library believes that connectivity equals opportunity, and our iPad rental program is yet another way that we are helping to close the local digital divide by providing more access and more opportunity for Valley residents to inspire and enrich their lives,” said Aimee Fifarek, PLYMC Executive Director and CEO.
The iPads are free to rent with a Library card and can be checked out for up to 21 days. The devices should be returned to a circulation desk within the Library, not at a book drop-off. There is a fee if the device is not returned or damaged.
The iPads are the latest resource to be added to the Library’s digital services and offerings. PLYMC’s free Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Program, which began in 2016, continues to increase in popularity. The hotspots were checked out 1,615 times in 2021, making it the most circulated Library item last year. For more information on the Library’s Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Rental Program, please visit https://www.libraryvisit.org/hotspots/.
The Library was able to begin its iPad Rental Program and purchase 150 iPads through a $171,122 grant from the Electronic Connectivity Fund (ECF), a program funded through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help libraries and schools close the digital divide by providing their communities with free technology and broadband connectivity. The Library also purchased additional mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and necessary data plans with the funds.
The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) has served the Mahoning Valley since 1880, when the Youngstown Library Association was officially created. With 15 branches across Mahoning County, including our Main Library in downtown Youngstown, the PLYMC is well known for signature services and programs like Summer Discovery and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. The mission and values of PLYMC to “connect, inspire, and enrich” position the Library to serve our communities by preparing children for kindergarten, promoting early literacy, assisting job seekers, connecting Valley residents to technology, and providing resources for small businesses.