St. Martinville, La. – St. Martin Parish Library has received a special round of funding to help our library system further respond directly and immediately to the many needs of our communities as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded $3,012,150 to the State Library of Louisiana to be disbursed to public libraries in Louisiana. The St. Martin Parish Library has received $47,064 of that funding.

With ARPA funding, St. Martin Parish Library has implemented a WiFi hotspot service. A WiFi hotspot is a portable device used to connect a mobile-enabled device, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet, to the internet. According to 2019 census data, 24.5% of the parish population do not have broadband internet access at home. The hotspot lending service will help to bridge gaps in access to health care, education, and employment. Additionally, hotspot lending provides internet connections after library hours are over, extending the benefits of the library into patrons’ homes.

WiFi hotspot devices are available for checkout to patrons 18 years or older. Borrower’s must have a library account in good standing. There is a limit of one device per user/family unit at any one time. The check-out period is one week (no renewals). The overdue fine is $1 per day. Hotspots must be checked out and returned to the Library circulation desk; Hotspots cannot be returned in the book drop.

Additionally, one hotspot will be placed at the Belle River Community Center in Lower St. Martin Parish for public use at their site.

“Public libraries are essential to the well-being of our entire state and provide critical access points for Louisianans to obtain the information and services that they need to thrive and succeed. This has never been more true than during the current pandemic which has exposed the vulnerability of many of our citizens and their lack of internet access, as well as the degree to which they rely upon in-person and online assistance and access to life changing information provided by their public libraries, “said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “This funding will provide additional relief to our parish public libraries, who have reached far beyond the walls of their libraries, deep into their communities to ensure that they have what they need the most right now–access to information, technology, and broadband.”

The St. Martin Parish Library has branches in Breaux Bridge, Cecilia, Parks, and St. Martinville. The St. Martin Parish Library is home to a collection including books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers. The library also offers online databases, eBooks, electronic audiobooks, and streaming video. At the St. Martin Parish Library, “facts, ideas, and fantasies are a check-out away”. For more information, please contact one of the library branch locations.