This handbook outlines key components of a inter-institutional mobile hotspots lending model that was developed as a collaborative initiative between seven University of North Carolina System institutions. The project was made possible by grant funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) (IMLS grant number LS-249980-OLS-21). The LSTA grant program administered by the State Library of North Carolina funds library projects across the state that advance excellence and promotes equity by strengthening capacity, expanding access, and community engagement in North Carolina’s libraries. This handbook presents a model and includes recommendations for how other collaborative entities can launch a similar inter-institutional lending program including (1) identifying and articulating need, (2) managing lending policies and guidelines, (2) balancing supply and demand needs across institutions, (3) managing pooled resources and service contracts, (4) assessment strategies, (5) sustaining the project after the grant, and more.
The inter-institutional lending model that was created through this collaborative effort has allowed project partners to purchase 180 mobile hotspots, cover monthly service fees, and loan these devices to students, faculty, and staff who are dispersed throughout the state. This program is helping alleviate internet connectivity barriers for individuals who (1) cannot afford to pay internet service costs, (2) do not have broadband internet access in their homes due to their geographic location, or (3) require additional internet options due to overloaded home networks.
While the handbook outlines a mobile hotspots lending program, this model can be adapted for other types of technologies.