In pursuit of the essential goal that every resident of our region has access to Wi-Fi Internet without restriction, Neuse Regional Libraries, have been awarded a federal grant administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the State Library of North Carolina in order to establish ten drive-in Wi-Fi locations throughout Jones County. In order to accomplish this, the Library is in the process of purchasing two under-200 feet towers placed in strategic locations in the heart of Jones County to reach formerly inaccessible regions of the County. This will ensure that all ten Wi-Fi hotspot location receive fast, unbroken service.
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Comfort Public Library
Maysville Public Library
Pollocksville Public Library
Trenton Public Library
Brock Mill Pond (Trenton)
Filling Station (Pollocksville)
Zion Lodge (Trenton)
Police Station/Town Hall (Maysville)
Zak’s of Mallardtown (Trenton)
Christian Faith Assembly (Trenton)
Jones County Government and Jones County Public Schools are working with the Library to promote the new services and increase awareness of the availability of the new Wi-Fi hotspots. Eastern Carolina Broadband of Pink Hill is assisting with the installation of the new towers and ablishment of the Wi-Fi network that will provide wireless Internet at the hot spots, and have played a major role in help plan the project based on their previous work in Jones County.
One of the major goals of this project is to address what the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office has identified as a “homework gap” between students who have access to high speed broadband and those who do not. The Broadband Office states that the homework gap occurs when students are assigned homework requiring access to the Internet but don’t have home access.”
According to a Pew Research Report in March of 2020, students in rural and town areas were 25% less likely to use the Internet to complete homework than those in city and suburban areas. The same report also referenced a 2018 survey in which approximately one-in-five teens said they sometimes cannot complete homework assignments because of a lack of Internet access. The Neuse Regional Libraries hope to counteract this effect by increasing access for students throughout the County who have been issued MacBooks by Jones County Public Schools.
This grant is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-246155-OLS 20).