Mobile hot spots will soon be available for check out at some Dallas Public Library locations

Having internet access at home for many people is standard, but for others, it's a luxury they cannot afford.

For some across North Texas, the library is their only option.

In the recently passed city budget for Dallas, 10 libraries will start offering mobile hot spot devices for check out.

The devices provide Wi-Fi, and can be checked out for 30 days at a time.

The city of Dallas will buy about 900 mobile hotspots that will be assigned to libraries in under-served neighborhoods.

They'll come at a cost of about $375,000.

One Dallas city councilman said the investment could change lives.

Right now, if you visit a public library in Dallas, there’s a good chance a lot of the computers are occupied.

“I had to email them, so I needed the internet for that,” Valarie Zepeda said.

Zepeda and her daughters went to the Dallas Public Library’s Pleasant Grove branch at Lake June and Loop 12 just to send an email.

It's something many people take for granted.

“It is a challenge, especially when you don’t have a car, then you have to wait in the heat for the bus,” Zepeda added.

And she's not alone.

“If they are closed on Sunday, I come up here and I just stand by the building, and I can access the Wi-Fi,” John Rabon said.

“I have friends that attend UNT Dallas, and they tell me they are not able to provide internet at home, so they go to the library,” Chrissy Garcia added.

In the budget passed unanimously by the Dallas City Council this week, nearly $400,000 will go toward buying about 900 mobile hot spot devices.

The pocket-sized devices can be checked out from one of 10 library locations, mostly in South Dallas, Pleasant Grove, parts of Oak Cliff, and West Dallas.

And just like checking out a book, people can take them home and bring them back later.

“Something as simple as Wi-Fi can definitely change someone’s life,” Councilman (D-5) Jaime Resendez said.

Resendez represents Southeast Dallas, and he grew up there.

When the program was first proposed by the city manager, Resendez saw his district was not on the list.

He urged the council to expand it from three to 10 libraries in the city.

“In this day and age, almost everything we do is online. When we are talking about internet access, we are talking about economic opportunity. We are talking about the workforce. We are talking about education,” Resendez said.

As a mother, Valerie Zepeda agrees.

“It would be beneficial for me and my daughters,” she said. “For work, if I have to do something on the computer or on the phone.”

City leaders say the mobile hot spots will have content blockers on them to keep people from accessing inappropriate websites.

They hope to have these hotspots in the chosen libraries by the start of 2020.