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This month, Mid-Continent Public Library finished installing technology at 32 of its locations across the Kansas City metropolitan area to boost Wi-Fi signals into the parking lots outside its buildings.

Funded by a CARES Act grant, administered by the Missouri State Library, the project is aimed at expanding public access to high-speed Wi-Fi, a resource that is especially important as many schools and workplaces continue to operate virtually.

“Now more than ever, internet access is imperative to be an active member of our society, but not everyone has the luxury of having an internet connection at home,” said Bryan Gash, chief technology officer at MCPL. “Boosting Wi-Fi signals into the parking lots outside our buildings not only supports social distancing by allowing users to spread out, it also ensures internet access 24/7 for those who can’t make it into our branches during business hours—something we know is very important for working families.”

The Library received $49,782 in grant funding to undertake the Wi-Fi extension project, a press release states, which is one of the many ways it has altered its offerings during the pandemic. In addition to boosting Wi-Fi, according to the release MCPL has:

• Launched curbside and drive-up window service for contactless delivery of materials

• Converted all in-person events, including storytimes, to virtual platforms, including the MCPL360 Facebook page

• Acquired more digital materials (books, movies, music, and more) for customers to access from home

• Implemented a wide variety of new safety procedures, including frequent cleaning/sanitization, requiring masks inside the buildings (both staff and customers), limiting capacity inside its buildings, and quarantining returned items

More information on how the Library has adapted to safely serve the community can be found at mymcpl.org/COVID.

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