A program aimed at students inadvertently has resulted in an influx of adults at the Community Library in Sunbury.

At the beginning of August, the library launched a Wi-Fi hotspot program, allowing portable hotspots to be rented for a two-week period.

The idea, executive director Chauncey Montgomery said, was to help students have access to online assignments and use the internet for work and research.

The library quickly realized, however, that students weren't the only ones who wanted the internet access. Montgomery said he probably had "taken for granted" broadband access for adults, especially in a rural area.

"Initially, (students) were the catalyst to get them, but the demand has been more with the general public," he said. "I've only had one parent who said, 'Hey, my student needs this.' "

Montgomery said that doesn't indicate failure for the endeavor. He said he doesn't care who's using the hotspots, whether it's for a research assignment or streaming a television show.

"Years ago, people came to library to borrow a book or movie," Montgomery said. "Now, as a lot of that content goes online, there's not much difference in them coming in and getting something like this (hotspot) that gives them connectivity to access something they're getting online."

The library has about 15 hotspots, most of which can be rented for a two-week period. Two are kept as "emergency" hotspots. Those devices can only be rented for 24 hours and cannot be held. For the regular units, there's usually a waiting list of about 10.

Montgomery said the library doesn't have the funding to add more hotspots now, but he plans to look into alternative funding for the devices and reassess next year's budget to try to purchase more.

Still, Montgomery doesn't see "more demand than we have the ability to respond to" as a bad thing.

"I find it fascinating that in an environment where broadband seems so ubiquitous, there are still parts of the community that don't have it," he said. "There's still a need for it in various parts of people's lives. ... I'm glad that we can help out."

For more information, visit yourcl.org.

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