Davenport Library deploys O.W.L to make Wi-Fi more accessible

The O.W.L. is meant to allow students and families connect to free Wi-Fi
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 11:06 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Earlier this year, the Davenport Public Library received an Outreached Wheeled Library, otherwise known as the O.W.L., which is designed to bring books and resources to people across Davenport. According to Community Outreach Supervisor Brittany Peacock, they found a new way to use the O.W.L. as students returned to the classroom online this year.

“The original idea was to circulate items to people that can’t come to the library, but with the pandemic, those kinds of services were hard to do, so we thought ‘well, how can we still be a good service to our community right now and how can we best benefit them?’" said Peacock, "so we knew that it (the O.W.L.) was a mobile hotspot and we thought ‘oh my gosh, these kids are going to be studying remotely’ so we thought ‘let’s do it! Let’s get it out here in the community!’”

Five days a week, the O.W.L. will drive around to elementary schools or public parks and will allow anyone to connect to the O.W.L.'s Wi-Fi for free.

And Peacock said the O.W.L. is already being put to good use, as well as the Wi-Fi that’s provided at the libraries themselves.

“We’re averaging six cars at each stop that we do but here at the library we have, on average every hour, we have at least four or five people that come in that would love to use our Wi-Fi," said Peacock.

Davenport Public Libraries are currently limiting time for people to use computers but have Wi-Fi accessible outside their buildings and in their parking lots 24/7. Peacock said the decision to limit access was tough.

“We’ve seen a lot of people come in, they want to use our wifi, they want to use our services, unfortunately with the pandemic, it’s harder for us to accommodate long trips," said Peacock, “We are definitely empathetic, we don’t want to have to scale back, but at the end of the day we have to protect our community and by alternating our services so we can accommodate as best we can."

For a full list of when and where the O.W.L. will be next, the Library has listed all upcoming times and dates.

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