Huron Public Library

Huron, SD

Describe the need that you’re trying to address.

Having Television Whitespace hotspots in city parks would allow my library to address two local needs. The first is a lack of free public Wi-Fi access that is not tied to retail stores or other commercial businesses. We have identified three groups who would benefit from this service. The first is low-income households who cannot afford home internet access or have low cell phone data caps. The second group is our immigrant community. Many are heavy users of the city’s soccer park. The third group is rural residents who live outside of high-speed internet provider service areas. Large files can take hours to download at their homes but minutes using the library’s Wi-Fi.

The second is a gap in community preparedness plans for maintaining public internet access after an emergency. The library would like to build a TVWS system that could be completely powered using off the grid power (solar, batteries, and generators.) We would also like to add solar charging stations for portable devices at TVWS locations. This is part of the library’s long range plan to become a community emergency & disaster safe haven.

What would be a successful outcome for your project?

Providing TVWS to our community will help us meet the following objectives: replace outdated perceptions of the library by using TVSW as a starting point to publicizing all of the services and programs currently offered, increase use of library especially our online resources, take steps to ensure library’s card holder demographics match community’s demographics and form active partnerships with local emergency preparedness agencies.

Outcomes for the final objective include attending 3 or more emergency preparedness agencies meeting, having TVSW library staff participate in local emergency & disaster exercises, and reviewing & updating community preparedness plans annually.

Placing our TVWS hotspots in city parks evenly distributes them throughout the community. Scattering hotspots also increases the likelihood that at least some would be undamaged after a widespread emergency.

Most residents would be able to easily walk, bike or ride to their neighborhood park. Both residents and out-of-town visitors can use all city parks for free outdoor recreation. So park visits are a popular activity for low-income households. Prospect Park has a skateboard park that is open in the summer and a warming house next to an outdoor winter ice rink. Our immigrant community, Karen and Hispanic, are frequent visitors to Pepsi Field for soccer games. Fishing around Riverside Park is also very popular with local Karen residents.

We hope to become a successful TVSW library that can help other regional libraries implement this technology in their own communities.

Please list your team members or partners and their roles

Shirley Apley – Library Director

Melinda Ellenson – Library’s IT contact

Chad Borgan – City IT technician

LaRon Klock – City Parks & Rec Director

Zach Nelson – Emergency Management Director

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