In April 2016, Orange County launched a Wi-Fi to go program for citizens in their countywifi to go container libraries. They began with just 15 Verizon jet packs, but quickly scaled to 74 units after demand for the service became apparent.

Patrons may check out a Wi-Fi to go set for three weeks with a normal fine structure. Replacement cost is $65.00 with a $5.00 processing fee. Holds may be placed on the devices and are limited to one pack per family at a time.

Each pack is boxed in a Chinese food take out box with a Wi-Fi to go logo. One unit, power cord, plug, directions and a survey are included in each box. Each pack has a barcode and label identifying its name. The box is also numbered and a sticker is placed on the top to remind patrons to not let the battery run down. The power cord and plug have property labels on them identifying them as property of Orange County Libraries. The device, cable and plug are in a plastic bag.

Checklist

Preliminary Steps

  • Work with vendor to determine if the program is feasible under their restrictions
  • Determine how devices will be managed – Orange County’s is managed through Verizon’s online tool
  • Determine who will use the devices (adults, children)
  • Review privacy tracking issues and create policies that align with the vendors
  • Support from Board of Commissioners or other governing body that can appropriate funds towards the initiative

wifi to go contentsLibrary Preliminary Steps

  • Determine library policies for usage
  • Receive, inventory, catalog and process devices
  • Set up devices with new user name and password
  • Document process for device setup
  • Create directions for patron use
  • Create survey to gather usage data
  • Create FAQs and website, for example Orange County created this site

Issues

  • To go boxes need replacement often – Orange County orders directly from Amazon.com. RFID tags are placed on the inside of the box
  • Labeling of power cord and plug became essential after about six patrons returned devices with wrong cord and/or plug
  • Since Orange County’s overdue fines are low, patrons will keep out past due date – they manage this by suspending the service from the Verizon website. They notify the patron and the devices are usually returned quickly. Once returned, a note is placed in the catalog item record to alert staff to return the device to technical services to resume service
  • Running down the battery on the devices will cause them to reset to factory settings and are no longer usable by patrons. They must be returned to the library for set up
  • The program began with a post survey and now the County only issues a pre-survey. This information provides IT with essential data about where the devices are being used
  • Currently down several units – two for damage, the others for no power cord or plug

Outcomes

  • Residents love this service!
  • Lots of good feedback
  • Good publicity for the county
  • People who have not used the library in years are now coming in

Check out the Wifi-To-Go Case Study Video