Built for the half of the world still offline

SolarSPELL’s offline, solar-powered technology is portable, rugged and easy-to-use, allowing users in even the most remote locations to explore an ever-expanding library of locally relevant resources. Our newest model contains patent-pending charge control technology that allows users to check how much battery life is left using a display on the case. Click below to learn more about what you can find in our libraries.

Library collections

Key features

  • Patent-pending charge-control technology
  • Solar and USB charging capabilities
  • Full charge in 4–12 hours
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Made using recycled plastic
  • Lightweight + portable, weighs 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg)
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How to use the SolarSPELL Library

SolarSPELL libraries are designed to be easy to use. So whether you’re a digital expert or a total beginner, you, too, can access thousands of resources with just a few clicks. Watch the video to learn more about how to use SolarSPELL libraries.

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Designed by students

Students contribute to every aspect of SolarSPELL’s work, including designing, engineering and building our hardware! Our newest model was created here at ASU by a team of faculty, staff and students from Core Research Facilities; Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, including the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, and the Polytechnic School.

Student opportunities


How can I get a SolarSPELL Digital Library?

We appreciate your interest in the ASU SolarSPELL initiative! At this time, we are prioritizing working with the US Peace Corps (at the post- or country-level) and other major partners in order to carry out future projects. Because our approach entails curating a localized library, providing training and support, carrying out impact evaluation, and continually updating the libraries, it is rarely feasible — or economically viable — for us to work with individual users, schools, clinics or communities.

We welcome you to contact us to learn more and hope you will understand that our approach is a comprehensive one.

How much does a SolarSPELL Digital Library cost?

Similar to traditional brick-and-mortar libraries, SolarSPELL libraries extend beyond their physical infrastructure. The value of these libraries transcends the tangible structures, encompassing meticulously curated collections, the indispensable guidance provided by librarians, and the ongoing assessment of their alignment with community needs. This principle holds true for SolarSPELL libraries.

Moreover, it is imperative to emphasize that SolarSPELL operates as a university-based initiative. We do not engage in the distribution or sale of libraries to individual entities; rather, our approach involves their implementation as integral components of comprehensive projects. Collaborating with organizations globally, we tailor content to meet local requirements, equip in-field trainers to assist users in navigating the library and undertake systematic monitoring and evaluation for data-driven enhancements. While the hardware associated with each library incurs a cost of approximately $2,500, it is more meaningful to consider the overall project cost, which can range from $53,000 to $450,000.

It is our firm belief that initiatives solely centered on technology provision are insufficient to enhance educational opportunities or address the intricate challenges hindering meaningful technology utilization. The true value of our initiative lies not merely in the hardware construction but rather in the dedicated efforts invested in curating localized and relevant libraries. Additionally, our commitment extends to comprehensive training programs and impact evaluations, which collectively contribute to the efficacy and sustainability of the SolarSPELL initiative.

How long will my SolarSPELL Digital Library last?

SolarSPELL libraries are designed to withstand five years of use with proper care and maintenance.

What’s the difference between the new SolarSPELL hardware and the classic version?

In creating our new digital library hardware, we retained all the best qualities of the original and made them even better. The new technology features a more sophisticated design that simplifies user experience. Users can now turn the library on and off with just a push of a button, without needing to open the case to plug in and unplug the battery. The new design also includes an illuminated display to show users how much battery life is left. 

With a slimmer, lighter weight design, SolarSPELL’s new hardware improves on the portability of the classic model, and its rubber bumper helps it hold up better to drops. Plus, it’s made using recycled plastic, minimizing plastic consumption.

Can we connect to the internet with the new SolarSPELL hardware?

No, SolarSPELL is an offline library initiative, so none of our hardware is designed to connect to the internet. This allows us to provide free access to our libraries, even in the most remote locations. It also allows us to provide a safe, trustworthy space for digital novices to build up their skills in navigating digital technology and evaluating information. 

We are using the classic SolarSPELL library hardware. Can we get one of the new models?

Unfortunately we do not have the funding to replace all libraries currently in use; our new hardware will only be used in new project implementations. While we are very excited about our new hardware, the classic version is still an effective and reliable tool!

How long does the battery last?

Our latest SolarSPELL library hardware contains a longer-lasting battery than our first generation libraries, but how long it lasts still depends on how the library is being used. If 20 students are all streaming videos, for example, the battery life may be several hours. But if a few students are reading books or PDFs, the battery could last four to five days.

Does the SolarSPELL library require mobile data to access? Will I be charged for using the library?

The SolarSPELL library is free to use and all offline — no data needed!

How many people can connect to the SolarSPELL library at a time?

Up to 25 devices at a time can connect to the library without experiencing delays.