Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi (also spelled wifi) hotspot device.

Borrow a Wi-Fi Hotspot

You can check out a Wi-Fi Hotspot. This service is FREE and available to everyone.

Here's what you need to know to get started:

Find Available Hotspots

What is a Wi-Fi Hotspot?


A portable Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot is a pocket-sized mobile device. It uses Wi-Fi to help you connect your devices to the internet without having to plug into anything. Examples of devices you could use with a Wi-Fi hotspot are Chromebooks, iPads and other tablets, laptops, and smartphones.




Setting up Your Hotspot Device



Troubleshooting and Internet Safety Tips



Get Started

Wi-Fi Hotspots for Library Members

We now have two types of Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspots available for library members to borrow and use from home. Learn more to choose the one that's best for you.

Wi-Fi Hotspots for San José Students

Borrow a filtered Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot during the entire 2022-2023 school year for free.

Resources for Students, Families, and Teachers

As soon as you, your family, or your students have a  Wi-Fi  (wifi) hotspot devices,  check out these exciting programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What if the hotspot's internet signal strength is weak?

For best results, move the Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot closer to where you will be using your device. If you move between rooms during the day, your signal strength may be affected if you get too far from your hotspot.

Q. How many devices can be connected to the hotspot?

You can connect up to 15 devices to your Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot. The connection speed may slow down as more devices are connected.

Q. Can I leave the hotspot battery plugged in?

No. Unplug the Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot when it is fully charged. It should look like this (Battery icon with green bars reading full.). If you leave the hotspot plugged in when it is fully charged, it will damage the battery over time. This can cause the battery to stop working.

Q. How long will the battery stay charged?

In the first months, the Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot battery will last 11 hours. Once the battery is fully charged, unplug it and don’t recharge until it is 15% or lower.

Q. Where does the hotspot work? Can I use the hotspot while traveling outside the U.S.?

The Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot should work anywhere in the Bay Area. If the device is outside the state limits, it may disconnect.

Q. Can I change the hotspot password?

At this time, no. You cannot change the hotspot password.

Q. What type of data plan do I have? Will it cost me any money to use this device?

Data is unlimited and provided by the AT&T network. You will not be charged for using this device.

Q. Are my data and the websites I visit using a library hotspot being tracked?

No. Only the following is checked:

  • Is the Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot activated?
  • Is it being used within the state limits.

Some library hotspots do have content filtering software. Content filtering prevents anyone connected to the internet through this device from visiting unsafe websites. However, no one is keeping track of which websites you are visiting.

Q. I received the hotspot through my school. What if I stop attending my school in San José?

If you are no longer in enrolled in a school in the City of San José, return your Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot to your local San José Public Library location and hand it to a library staff member.

Q. How long can I keep the hotspot?

  • Members of the public can check the Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot out for 90 days with one 30-day automatic renewal.
  • San José students can borrow a Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot with a web filter from the library during the entire 2022-2023 school year. The due date will be set for June 30,2023.

Q. How do I return the hotspot?

  • Members of the public can return the Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot to a library staff member.
  • If you received your hotspot through your school, return it at your local SJPL branch and hand it to a library staff member.
  • Please DO NOT drop it in the book drop

Q. How long will hotspots for San José students be available?

A San José student can check out a hotspot for the academic school year 2022-2023, please see Hotspots for San José Students for more details.

Q. What should I do if I get a notice that the hotspot I borrowed will be turned off?

If your Wi-Fi (wifi) hotspot is overdue and billed, the hotspot will get shut off. You will get a notice on your account. Then, you will see an error message on the screen that says the hotspot cannot connect to the network.

After you return the hotspot, we will remove the hotspot overdue and billed charges. You can also check out a new hotspot if one is available. If it's not available, you can place a hold.

Q. What does "Filtered" mean?

The term "Filtered" refers to a web/internet filter. 

A web filter is designed to restrict what websites users can visit. There are a few more things to know about web filters:

  • The intent is to block websites considered threatening or harmful.
  • Web filters are not perfect. They can't block all threatening and harmful websites. They may block access to legitimate research sites.
  • Web filters do not protect users from cyber bullying, financial crimes, computer viruses, or other illegal activities.

Learn more about protecting yourself and others online with our Virtual Privacy Lab.

Q. What do I need to check out an SJ Access device?

You will need the following to check out most SJ Access devices:

  • Library Card: One of our physical library cards. If you have an eLibrary Card, you will need to get it converted to one of our physical cards. Here are the requirements for a Full Access physical library card:
    • Visit one of our 25 locations to get your card.
    • Be a California resident.
    • Show a valid Photo ID with your legal name. Examples:
      • California driver’s license
      • Passport
      • Permanent resident ID
      • Employee ID
    • Show proof of your current address in California. Examples:
      • California driver's license
      • Paycheck
      • Mail postmarked within 30 days.
    • Agree to our Borrower's Agreement.
    • If you don't meet one the above requirements, contact us. We have other types of physical cards that you might qualify for.
  • Maybe an Adult: Library card members ages 17 and under need to be accompanied by an adult to pick up their device.

If you are checking out a Wi-Fi (wifi) for the school year, visit our Hotspots for San José Students page for details on what you will need.

Q. How many holds can I place on an SJ Access device, including hotspots, Chromebooks, iPads, and laptops?

The maximum number of holds you can place is two. Any more than two holds may be canceled.