Need internet access for school, work, or play but don’t have the right tools or technology? The Kansas City Public Library offers a new way to help you manage your personal online needs.
You can now borrow a Chromebook computer to use at home, at school, at a park, or on the streetcar or bus. Check one out from the Library the same as you would a book. And, like Library books and DVDs, borrowing a Chromebook is free with your library card.
Each device has built-in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE mobile data and connects to the internet nearly anywhere, letting you take part in all kinds of web-based activities:
- Education and research
- Checking email
- Browsing websites
- Paying bills online
- Applying for jobs
- Streaming music or movies
- And much more.
We’ve added 900 Chromebooks to our collection; with demand high, you can place a hold for one by visiting our catalog or calling, emailing, or chatting with Library staff. Choose a convenient location for pickup as you would with holds on books and other materials.
You can keep the device for 21 days – sorry, no renewals. As with other items, you can return Chromebooks to any Library location, either inside during business hours or by using the outdoor book drop boxes.
Get more details on Chromebooks to Go and explore more of our Tech to Go device lending services at kclibrary.org/TechToGo.
Borrow a Chromebook
Working to close the digital divide
The Library began planning this addition to resources and services last year after receiving $853,212 in federal Emergency Connectivity funding. The Chromebooks initiative furthers our effort to narrow Kansas City’s digital divide – the economic, educational, and social inequity between those who have computers and online access and those who do not.
Carrie Coogan, the Library’s deputy director of public affairs and community engagement, is a member of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion steering committee. She and other community stakeholders began working to enhance digital inclusion across the city in 2012.
Coogan says that for at least 10 years, those at public libraries who serve low-resource communities have been sounding an alarm: Computers and broadband service are not universally available.
“Libraries have been not only providing free access to the internet,” she says, “but also free checkouts of hotspots and tablets and offering free classes on everything from keyboarding to how to create an Excel spreadsheet or your own website.”
The Chromebooks are the latest addition to the Library’s Tech to Go program, which also offers checkout of 300 unlimited-data Internet to Go Wi-Fi hotspots.
“Access to broadband is a basic need in this city and in our country,” notes Joel Jones, the Library’s deputy director for library services. “For those who don’t have it in their homes, who can’t afford it, this service will have a great impact. They will have access that they haven’t had before.
“But in the long run,” he adds, “the city, the state, and the country have to figure out a way to get affordable broadband into every home.”
The Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund is an initiative included in the American Rescue Plan approved by Congress last year. It is designed to help schools and libraries across the country provide critical online resources to students, staff, and library patrons – among other things, addressing needs for remote learning.
The more than $850,000 award to the Kansas City Public Library is the fourth largest behind appropriations to the District of Columbia Public Library, Houston’s Harris County Public Library, and the St. Louis Public Library.
Explore Tech to Go services