New York Public Library’s Pilot Program Lends Wi-Fi Hotspots to Patrons

“For Those in the Digital Dark, Enlightenment Is Borrowed From the Library” by Jim Dwyer which appeared in the July 9 edition of the New York Times covers how the library and its partners provide wireless access that residents without internet access can take home. Give the full article a read http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/nyregion/for-those-in-the-digital-dark-enlightenment-is-borrowed-from-the-library-.html

The Library has already partnered with Mobile Beacon for a pilot program to check out the internet via hotspot gadgets at after school programs at four branches. Managing Director Katherine Messier shared with me that Mobile Beacon is a “service provider they (the NYPL) are currently using for their 100 loaner device pilot.”

The NYT article starts by showing how residents often visit the library sidewalk afterhours to use its wifi, calling the branch library “the village well” (almost 3 million NYC residents live without digital access at home).

I believe that access to the internet may now be a core function for libraries considering the shifts in needs and competition.

New York Public Library Director of Media Relations Angela Montefinise shared with me that this expanded program will target residents without broadband at home and who participate in a library program. It extends to the Brooklyn and Queens library systems.  More background information provided by NYPLhttp://www.nypl.org/press/press-release/june-23-2014/new-york-public-library-receives-knight-news-challenge-grant-launch

The article includes the quote by Andrew Raseij that “low-cost internet ought to be a public function.”
The real strength of this initiative is seen in a quote by library user Joey Cabrera in the NYT piece, “I can’t even begin … to imagine the opportunities that would create.” A program that can ignite curiosity and wonder is already a success. Great idea and great partnerships.

Full citation: For Those in the Digital Dark, Enlightenment Is Borrowed From the Library. By JIM DWYER. JULY 8, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/nyregion/for-those-in-the-digital-dark-enlightenment-is-borrowed-from-the-library-.html 

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