STEVENS COUNTY LIBRARIES: Putting the tech in biblioteca

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

TECHNOLOGY TAKES OVER: Libraries of Stevens County offering a wide variety of tech options for residents…

The Libraries of Stevens County are providing a wide variety of services and technology you usually don’t associate with the brick and mortar version of a library.

Just installed are new solar charging stations for those outside the library who need to charge their phone or mobile device, free of charge.

Chewelah, Colville and Kettle Falls were able to purchase these stations thanks to a grant from the Stevens County funding from the CARES Act.

The solar stations have four divided sections for four users to simultaneously charge their device while waiting or visiting the library. The one in Chewelah is hard to miss right in front of Chewelah City Hall and next to the library.

The Libraries of Stevens County did this to help community members who would otherwise charge their devices in the library while utilizing a computer or waiting and reading in the building. Due to COVID-19, they have not opened up to the public yet but do offer curbside pickup services for books and materials.

While sitting outside, library members are still utilizing the library’s wifi but are facing battery depletion with no outlets. The solar charging stations have multiple device cords, USB-C, lightning and USB 2.0.

The Libraries of Stevens County is offering hotspots for checkout, which will provide internet access via a cellular connection through the devices, which are provided by Verizon or AT&T networks. The libraries have been checking these devices out to help county residents with limited or no internet access at their home. Library members can check out the devices for 28 days. The devices were made possible through CARES ACT funding from both Stevens County and the Washington State Library. According to the Libraries of Stevens County, the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack is a pocket-sized device for internet on the go utilizing the Verizon cellular network. Connect up to eight devices simultaneously, from laptops to gaming systems to smartphones. It comes with an AC adapter and the battery lasts roughly ten hours. The AT&T Unite Express 2 is a pocket-sized device designed for ease of use and portability. Connect up to ten devices simultaneously.

“These jetpacks will give our county residents the chance to test out a device with a cellular connection, especially those who live in an area with no broadband connectivity near their home.” said LOSC Director Amanda Six. “We want to help close the digital divide and increase tech literacy. These devices help us work towards that goal.”

For library members of Libraries of Stevens County, they can now checkout a laptop computer and use it from the library parking lot for up to one hour. Printing can also be done from any laptop to the public printer at each branch, and up to ten pages is free thanks to the Libraries of Stevens County Foundation.

The laptops were made possible from Stevens County distributed CARES ACT money. While COVID prevents library staff from providing extensive tech help, they will be able to provide very limited troubleshooting services.

As always, for more information concerning the Libraries of Stevens County, go to


Solar charging stations at Colville and Chewelah libraries, coming soon to Kettle Falls…

While community members can’t yet come into the Libraries of Stevens County locations due to continued COVID-19 restrictions, visitors of the Chewelah and Colville libraries can now take advantage of mobile-device solar charging stations to keep their smart devices running. An additional third station will be installed at the Kettle Falls Public Library in the coming weeks.

Charging stations are located outside each of the three libraries and are available for anyone to use. Each station includes three different charging cable styles (USB-C, Micro-USB and Lightning) to accommodate a variety of devices, and the tables are laid out to assist up to four users simultaneously. Power is provided via the installed solar panel on the top of each unit, and stations are built to remain outside in all weather conditions.

While coordinated by the Libraries of Stevens County, library managers worked with community partners to find suitable locations that all parties believed would benefit their individual communities. Artwork and graphics on each unit include phrases from the Libraries Transform campaign to highlight the value of libraries and communities working together. The stations were designed to be brightly-colored and inviting to all community members.

These devices were made possible thanks to a Stevens County CARES grant to provide access and services in areas with limited resources and connectivity.