Hollis Public Library in Southeast Alaska

There are rural libraries and then there are Alaska bush libraries. The Hollis Public Library (pictured right) is one such library located in Southeast Alaska, which the locals often refer to as the “The Gateway to Prince of Wales Island.”

The Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes are among the original native cultures of this area and continue to live on the island today. Hollis is accessible by float plane or a three-hour ferry ride from Ketchikan if you are traveling north from Seattle, which is what three members from our research team did this past week.

We had the pleasure of visiting with Hollis Library Director, Sandy Curtis and Library Board Secretary Arthur Martin (pictured left) at their lovely library staffed by all volunteers, including Sandy, with one of the most beautiful views our team has seen. The library was established in 1985 and is open 21 hours a week. Our research team was there to install our three measurement devices as we have in our previous 5 year 1 public libraries and to speak with the volunteers and patrons who benefit from the library’s free public computers and wireless internet connectivity.

The library has satellite internet connectivity (pictured right) provided by HughesNet. The library believes they have the fastest internet connection in Hollis, but they do not have the data needed to know if that’s true. Through our project to co-design a broadband measurement platform with public libraries, we hope that the Hollis Public Library will gain access to the data they need to learn more about their library’s Internet connectivity.

Because the satellite internet connection is wired directly from the dish outside to the business class cable modem directly inside the building, which also provides wired and wireless connections to the library’s public computers and internet access, we decided to only install two of our Odroid devices (pictured left) to measure the wired and wireless internet connections.

In all of the other libraries we have been able to install a third device at the egress switch, which will provide us with additional measurements where the internet service enters and exits the library. In Hollis, the HughesNet router provides WiFi and all wired computer connections in the library, and there is no separate switch. Because of this only two measurement devices were needed.

Our team would like to thank Sandy, Arthur, and other Hollis residents who showed us such warm Southeast Alaska hospitality during our visit. We learned a tremendous amount about the library, its internet connectivity, and the beautiful Prince of Wales Island including the amazing Totem Park (pictured right) located in Klawock, which is a major center of Tlingit culture. We all enjoyed our stay, and now we’re all thinking about how we can return to Hollis in the future.

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