Neuse Regional Libraries help provide internet access in Jones County

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POLLOCKSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Employees of Neuse Regional Libraries saw the need for internet access in Jones County and are getting federal funds to change that. 

The department manages libraries in Greene, Lenoir, and Jones counties. A grant from the state library will help provide WiFi to those places where people can access it outside the building. 

They’re being awarded $75,000 which will pay for two service towers to provide expanded WiFi connections in the area. 

The two towers will help create 10 drive-thru WiFi hotspots around Jones County. Workers at Neuse Regional Libraries expect to have them set up in places like the county’s fairgrounds or local libraries. 

Library administrators will also buy Chromebooks and be made available for checkout at a library. 

These resources are meant to give everyone in Jones County a way to access the internet. 

“And allow Jones County residents the opportunity to have access to WIFI for job applications, for student access, and to really address that homework gap,” said Melanie Morgan, dir. of libraries for Neuse Regional Libraries. 

Justin Stout, head of reference for the department says the project will help bridge the homework gap. He’s seen firsthand how a lack of internet access can affect people. 

“Students that don’t have internet face a lot more challenges finishing their homework,” said Stout. 

Stout is confident more internet access will allow students to catch up on their education. 

The state’s broadband infrastructure office ranks Jones County 93rd out of North Carolina’s 100 counties for broadband availability. 

Neuse Regional Libraries is working with Jones County Government and the school district to get the word out about the services. 

Employees expect everything to be rolling in January. 

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