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WRL Wins Public Library Innovator Award For Its Wifi Hotspot Program

WILLIAMSBURG-Virginia Library Association has honored Williamsburg Regional Library with the 2021 Public Library Innovator Award for its creative response to helping the community out during the covid-19 pandemic.

In particular, the library’s Mobile Library Services Youth and Neighborhood team was singled out for the distinction. This team consists of manager Elena L. Davis, Christopher Russell, and Nicholas Granville. The team received the award for its fast response to fulfilling community broadband needs during the pandemic through the mobile wifi hotspot program. The wifi hotspot program was instrumental in helping students in the Williamsburg-James City County Schools division who did not have reliable access to the Internet at home.

Other individuals in the community who also needed Internet access were able to use the library’s wifi hotspot program to complete tasks like applying for a job, attending virtual medical appointments, filling out the 2020 census, and getting the latest news on the pandemic. WRL also set up several long-term wifi hotspot locations where users can park and have 24-hour access to wifi.

“The wifi hotspot initiative is a great example of finding creative answers to how we can quickly adapt to provide a valuable service to our community during a challenging time,” said Betsy Fowler, WRL library director, in a release. “We’re proud to be pioneering new and exciting ways to keep our users connected with the resources they need.”

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