Original article can be found on WBTW News 13.

By Stacy Inez; July 19, 2018

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The Horry County Memorial Library System received a grant from the South Carolina State Library to purchase mobile hotspots for students without internet at home. 

The purpose of the mobile hotspots is for kids to still have access to their textbooks and assignments when they’re away from the classroom. Cindy Thornley with the Horry County Memorial Library System said these hotspots are necessary because technology is a big part of modern education. 

“We teach differently than we did 20 years ago,” said Thornley. “So this really helps them to access their textbooks if they’re on computers, or access assignments if they’re on the computer.” 

Thornley said they identified a need in the Socastee and Bucksport areas, so the hotspots will be available for pickup in those libraries. Students will be able to check out a mobile hotspot for the entire school year. Thornley said the hotspots will be timed and filtered to make sure students are completing their work. “They won’t go to social media sites. They won’t go to general things,” said Thornley. “They’re really focused on helping a child get their homework done.” 

She also said by giving kids access to the internet at home, it can help with parental involvement in a child’s learning process. “It also helps the parent understand better what their child is doing at school, and also how they’re doing, because you can find out all of that information about your child online,” said Thornley. “But if you don’t have that, and you’re busy all day at work, it is really difficult.” 

As a part of the grant, the library system is also establishing a new tutoring program and a program for young girls to learn computer coding. 

Thornley said Beaufort County has been checking out the mobile hotspots for three years and it’s been successful. Library staff went to Columbia Wednesday to pick up the devices and get trained on how to properly run the program. Thornley said when they return, they will begin writing policies and the hotspots should be available at the Socastee and Bucksport libraries by mid-August. “I think it also helps the interaction in a family, because parents can help more with the internet being at home,” said Thornley.