East Baton Rouge Parish Library: Library is a ‘hotspot’ for digital training and resources

Through an expansive collection of digital and physical content, engaging programming, and professional support services, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library provides critical information infrastructure for the community.


Top executives: Kristen Edson, Interim Library Director; Patricia Husband, Assistant Library Director for Branch Services; Mary Stein, Assistant Library Director for Administration

Phone: 225.231.3750

Address: 7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Website: ebrpl.com

A vital part of this infrastructure is reliable, high-speed broadband. Access to quality broadband is fundamental to connect to the Internet for work, educational, health-related and personal use, yet many areas in the parish lack such access. To address these digital inequalities, the library initiated “Wi-Fi 2 Geaux,” a free lending program that features 500 robust Wi-Fi hotspot devices available to the public for check-out. 

EBRPL cardholders can borrow the devices for three weeks and renew them up to three times, providing up to 12 weeks of use, offering a critical connection for students, job seekers and others.

Up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and e-readers, can be connected simultaneously. The devices are free for library cardholders to borrow and use and come with unlimited data and broadband speeds.

An additional 14 organizational hotspot devices are available and provide robust, high-speed Internet access to nonprofits and other organizations. 

Initially launched at library branches in neighborhoods with the lowest internet  access, the program is available at eight branches and eventually will be rolled out to all 14 branches.

The library also continues to expand access to training and skill-development resources, with SkillMill, a skilled-trades training platform, now available through the digital library. SkillMill uses interactive, expert-led digital training simulations and virtual reality to deliver on-the-job skills in HVAC, plumbing, electrical and appliance repair. Cardholders have free access to SkillMill’s continually growing course catalog. Additionally, VR headsets are available to use with the training at the library.

SkillMill complements other careerrelated services the library offers, says Andrew Tadman, reference services coordinator. “The Career Center can help people with their job search, while SkillMill provides a way to develop or build on practical skills,” he says. 

With its new board game collection, the library also fosters social connections. Cardholders can select from 50 titles, such as Clue, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit: World of Harry Potter, for free checkout. The library also hosts board-game events, such as 20-somethings game night.

The board game collection, like Wi-Fi hotspot devices and the SkillMill platform, supports the library’s mission to provide information, resources, materials, technology, and experiences that have a positive impact on parish residents, Tadman says. “It’s all about making resources available to people that they might not otherwise have access to.”