Thursday, December 18, 2008

WiFi in public places

The whole issue of offering free internet access in public places seems fascinating to me.

I already get (limited) access almost everywhere, because I use a Blackberry, and that gets a signal from satellites or transmitter towers or something (!)

Since the libraries started to offer free internet service the number of cybercafes seems to have shrunk.  Still, here and there in the city you can get free wireless connections, just as you can get connections you pay for in Starbucks (say).

If the Central Library goes ahead, and offers WiFi to all library members (and it is free and easy to join), we may end up with a very different library culture from the current one, with static PCs at desks we control.

One university library (and they are admittedly different) came up with these suggestions from students to increase laptop useability in the uni library, a fairly stimulating list:
  • Recliners and more ottomans
  • More outlets
  • More headphones for check out
  • Power strips
  • Extension cords
  • Book stands / paper stands
  • More small cubical-like spaces
  • Wireless keyboards
  • Wireless mice
  • Laptop docking stations
  • Comfortable chairs with tables and power outlets attached
  • Live chat with IT Help Desk
  • A bunch of common chargers available for checkout
  • Power outlets in all of the furniture
  • Laptop friendly tables and chairs (everything adjustable)
  • Swirling desk chairs
  • External drives
  • Flash jump drives
  • More laptops for check out
  • MacBooks for checkout, not just Dells
Above list found at The Ubiquitous Librarian

Should your library go wireless? Resources for Deciding.    Karin Wikoff [2001]
Wireless Networking in Libraries Wiki  [2007]
Wireless Libraries blog       [no new posts since May 2008]

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