Library users in Hampshire will soon be benefitting from upgraded WiFi on their laptops, smartphones and tablets whenever they are in a library – following Hampshire County Council’s successful bid to Arts Council England for £40,704 from its WiFi in Public Libraries in England fund.
Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, Cllr Andrew Gibson said: “In this digital age, reliable and free access to the internet should be a key part of any Library Service.
“Whether our customers are studying, catching up on the news, downloading e-books or simply enjoying finding out about a personal interest, the internet is a rich resource that has taken centre-stage, and providing improved access to it is something we are keen to do.
“I would therefore like to thank Arts Council England for considering our bid and providing the necessary funding.”
WiFi enables people in a particular location to access the internet freely from their own device while they are there. A good WiFi connection is particularly useful for people who are using the internet frequently or for long periods during their visit,.
The funding from Arts Council England will enable Hampshire’s libraries to upgrade their current WiFi provision to make it faster. This includes libraries that are run by community groups, as well as County Council-managed venues.
The enhanced WiFi provision will be in place by the end of March 2016.
Hampshire County Council is one of 68 councils across the country to receive funding – a total of £2,646,078 has been allocated by Arts Council England to provide and enhance free WiFi to public library users nationally.
Enhanced WiFi could be just the beginning of much wider improvements and modernisations in Hampshire’s libraries. People are currently able to give their views on a draft Strategy for transforming and improving Hampshire’s Library Service, by filling in a questionnaire either in print at their local library, or online at www.hants.gov.uk/library. Anyone can complete the questionnaire, until 16 January 2016.
More information is available in a press release from Arts Council England, including quotes from Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive of Arts Council England.