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Bridging the Gap: Ensuring Digital Equity through WiFi Hotspot Lending

Information on the MSU Library's WiFi Hotspot Lending Program (funded in part by NNLM Technology Innovation Grant).

computer phone internet connection (decorative)


Students can now borrow the internet from the MSU Library!


Since MSU moved to emergency remote learning for the spring 2020 semester, it became abundantly clear there is a very real digital divide among students (and families) who have access to a home computer and/or reliable, high-speed Internet and those that do not. With many classes again being offered through online modalities for the Fall 2020, and social distancing guidelines limiting computer lab space, this divide will continue to inhibit students' abilities to easily complete their course work.

The MSU Library has acquired Wi-Fi hotspots through an NNLM Technology Innovation grant and the Montana State Library. These will be loaned to high-need students on medium- to long-term check-outs to enable them access their course content either on-campus or online.

Student Self-Referral Form

Students, please use this form if you are interested in getting a WiFi hotspot from the lending program.

Faculty/Staff Referral Form

Please use this form to refer a student to the lending program.

Hotspot Funding

NNLM logo

The WiFi Hotspot Lending Program is made possible in part by a grant from The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region (NNLM PNR) Technology Improvement Award.

These awards aim to support infrastructure that improves access to biomedical and health information.

Specifically, the Technology Improvement Award seeks to address Aims 1-5 in the Support Access to Biomedical and Health Information Core, to ensure that the variety of users, such as affiliated and unaffiliated health professionals, researchers, librarians and the public, will have equal access to biomedical and health information.

Montana State Library Hotspot logoThe COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the digital divide in Montana, which is why the State Library is investing in a hot spot lending program to help Montana libraries help their patrons in need.  Every public and tribal college library in Montana is eligible to receive hot spots that they can use as they choose to help their communities. 

The Montana State Library has given the MSU Library six hot spots as part of their extended funding for their hot spot lending program. These hot spots will be incorporated into the NNLM Technology Innovation Award project.


The Montana State Library hot spot lending program was funded by the following organizations:

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (LSTA funds)
  • CARES Act Funds
  • Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER)
  • Steele-Reese Foundation