Among all their other functions in our communities, libraries are critical spaces for people to access the internet, and they are increasingly doing so wirelessly via Wi-Fi.
Virtually all public libraries in the U.S. provide Wi-Fi to patrons. By doing so, libraries serve as community technology hubs that enable digital opportunity and full participation in the nation’s economy. Wi-Fi is a critical part of how libraries are transforming our programs and services in the digital age.
June 20th was World Wi-Fi Day, a global initiative helping to bridge the digital divide as well as recognizing and celebrating the role of Wi-Fi in cities and communities around the world. In Washington, D.C., the WifiForward Coalition—of which ALA is a founding member—held a kick off celebration at the Consumer Technology Association’s Innovation House off of Capitol Hill. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly were on hand to expound on the wonders of Wi-Fi and to voice their support for policies that would help its growth and success.
ALA added the following statement to materials for World Wi-Fi Day:
“With Wi-Fi, our nation’s 120,000 libraries are able to dramatically increase our capacity to connect people of all incomes and backgrounds to the Internet beyond our public desktop computers. Wi-Fi allows us to serve more people anywhere in the library, as well as enabling mobile technology training labs, roving reference, access to diverse digital collections and pop-up library programs and services. Library wi-fi is essential to support The E’s of Libraries®—Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Engagement—on campuses and in communities nationwide. The American Library Association is proud to be a supporter of World Wi-Fi Day.”