Detroit library students Photo via DetroitK12.org
Young students pose outside DPL's mobile library.

The Detroit Public Library has partnered with a local university to deliver laptop rentals in the city. Here’s the skinny on how to get one.

DETROIT—With everything from meetings to Thanksgiving get-togethers to work itself going online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for computer access has never been greater in local communities.

Now, the Detroit Public Library is stepping up to fill the need with its “Laptop to Go” program, allowing library card holders to check out high-end laptop computers for free over a 90-day period.

Photo via DetroitK12.org
Recipients of loaner laptops receive refurbished machines in branded bags.

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So far, the response has been overwhelming, and people are excited.

“We’ve had tremendous online support so far, we’re just getting the word out,” said Public Relations Specialist Katie Dowgiewicz to The ‘Gander. 

“It looks like the program is definitely going to serve a need in our community.”

The library typically serves that need through its on-site computers, but with social distancing rules in effect, the number of available computers at its main branch in Midtown has been dramatically lessened, Dowgiewicz said.

Fifteen of the library’s 21 branches are currently closed, she added, necessitating the importance of the program, which allows locals to reserve their laptop, complete with SD card for transferring important files, over the phone or in person.

The best number to make your reservation is 313-481-1400, but laptops are going fast.

“As soon as the announcement went out, the library started receiving lots of phone calls and inquiries from our customers,” Dowgiewicz said, encouraging locals to call and specify which brands they would like to pick up.

“Everyone’s excited because it’s going to be a huge help as we’re currently in this virtual environment.”

Laptops must be checked out using an adult’s Detroit Public Library card, and returned in person to any open Detroit Public Library location on or before the due date.

Each laptop has Wi-Fi capabilities, but no built-in Wi-Fi service. There is no charge to check out a laptop, and the replacement fee for lost or damaged laptops is $500.

The laptops were provided through a program from Lawrence Tech University of Southfield with the goal of helping the local community stay connected.

Photo via DetroitK12.org
A smiling recipient poses outside the DPL’s mobile library.

Mobile Libraries Also Offered During Trying Times

The library has also worked to connect residents to books and laptops through its mobile library program, which is offered on specific dates and times within the city of Detroit.

The library, housed on a large truck, makes two stops per day at closed library branches and offers pick-up services, book giveaways, and one hour laptop or tablet usage along with free Wi-Fi.

Its schedule can be viewed at https://detroitpubliclibrary.org/locations/mobile-library.

The Following Library Branches Remain Open:

Campbell Branch (located at 8733 W. Vernor Hwy)

Edison Branch (18400 Joy Rd)

Jefferson Branch (12350 E, Outer Dr)

Parkman Branch (1766 Oakman Blvd)

Redford Branch (21200 Grand River Ave)

Wilder Branch (7140 Seven Mile E)

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