News Flash

2020 - Spotlight - Library

Posted on: March 17, 2021

Grant funds Victoria Public Library hotspot program, other remote services

Three women set up video and lighting equipment in a room with a colorful carpet.

PHOTO #1: From left, Victoria Public Library assistants Rebecca Sevier, Alexandria Torres and Daisy Garcia—also known as Ms. Rebecca, Ms. Alex and Ms. Daisy—set up lighting and video equipment March 16 to film Story Time Live at the Victoria Public Library. The light, iPad and tripod were purchased using a grant provided through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

PHOTO #2: Victoria Public Library assistant Daisy Garcia sets up an iPad and tripod March 16 to film Story Time Live at the Victoria Public Library. Both items were purchased using a grant provided through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

A woman sets up an iPad on a tripod to film a colorful fabric backdrop.PHOTO #3: The Victoria Public Library on March 15 began providing mobile internet hotspots for residents to check out.

PHOTO #4: The Victoria Public Library’s former magazine room will be renovated into a meeting room. The renovation is expected to begin in April and finish by the end of the summer.

A stack of plastic VHS-style containers marked VPL Hotspot sit next to a computer.Residents who rely on the Victoria Public Library for internet service can now take the internet home with them after the library on Monday launched its new mobile hotspot checkout program.

The hotspot program is one of three new services being funded by a $24,985 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Through a competitive application process, the library demonstrated accessibility needs that were heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic and proposed projects to meet these needs.

A glass-walled room in the corner of the library. The lights are off in the room.The library also purchased a new iPad, a tripod, microphones and lighting equipment, which will help it provide high-quality Facebook Lives streams to residents who are unable to attend events in person. In addition, a new meeting room is scheduled for completion in the summer.

Program services lead Katie Talhelm said the hotspots will help the library to better serve the many residents who rely on the library for internet service. The library has been planning since last year to provide a hotspot checkout program, and the grant funding will allow the library to purchase a total of 10 mobile hotspots for checkout.

“We have residents who come to the library every day to use the internet, but many more can’t come to the library regularly, or they can’t stay as long as they need to,” Talhelm said. “The digital divide is something we feel very acutely, so we’re pleased that we were able to find another way to help residents access the internet.” 

Talhelm said the ability to provide virtual or hybrid events using high-quality video equipment will continue to be a great asset for residents who are unable to come to the library because of COVID-19 or other reasons. Nearly a year after the library suspended in-person programming in response to COVID-19, library officials are slowly transitioning back to in-person events, offering some of their spring break programming in a hybrid format with limited attendance.

The library will also seek to meet the community’s growing need for a flexible private meeting space when it renovates its former magazine room. The new meeting room will be equipped to host high-tech or remote functions such as classes, webinars and conference calls. Library staff are in the process of purchasing furniture and equipment for the meeting room, and the renovation is expected to begin in April and finish by the end of the summer.

Funding for the grant is provided through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act with the goal of helping communities to provide programs and services that will help residents during the pandemic.

For more information about Victoria Public Library programs, visit www.victoriatx.gov/library or follow the library on Facebook at Victoria Public Library. To reserve a hotspot, visit the library or call 361-485-3301.