BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Even though libraries are shut down right now, Buckeye is making sure everyone can still use one of the library features that everyone uses the most – WiFi. The city is taking the free service out to the library parking lots.
During the coronavirus emergency, it is estimated that data usage by many families will jump 15% to 40%, according to CenturyLink.
“They added some additional outside antennas and then boosted the WiFi so that in either library you have really good WiFi service,” library manager Jana White said. Plenty of people have called, asking about using the internet during the closure.
Normally, the Coyote Branch, just off of I-10, has twice as many internet logins than the smaller, Downtown Branch. But now those roles are reversed.
“It’s kind of hard to find a signal out here, anyway, and for them to do it right here, it’s a good thing,” said Troy Smith, who was in his car with his family outside the Downtown Branch.
“That is really where the need is. And it’s really a walkable, neighborhood-type library,” White said.
The Buckeye Unified High School District is also putting out mobile hotspot buses, so kids can do their classwork in the school parking lots and even at some parks.
Connecting to the hotspot at the park couldn’t be easier. They’ve got instructions right in the window of the bus, including the password you’ll need to connect.
We found Jose Orozco Hernandez in his car at Earl Edgar Park, studying for his GED. “That’s beautiful because it gives a lot of privileges -- to go online, to get their homework done," he said.“There’s a lot of families that have low budget incomes around here. Ya' know what I mean? Not everybody’s rich around here.”
Library customers are doing more than just schoolwork, though. Over the last four weeks, the Buckeye libraries have had a 65% increase in e-book check-outs compared to the same time last year. “Come see us in our parking lots. We’re ready for ya!” White said.
The free signal is available every day from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the following locations:
• Buckeye Union High School (1000 E. Narramore Ave.)
• Estrella Foothills High School (13033 S. Estrella Parkway)
• Youngker High School (3000 S. Apache Rd.)
• BUHSD Learning Center (751 N 215th Ave.)
• Rainbow Valley Fire Department (19937 W Arlington Rd.)
• Tin Top (37901 W Salome Hwy.)
• Earl Edgar Park (500 S Miller Rd.)
• Sundance Park (22865 W Lower Buckeye Rd.)