January 31, 2005
Chandler’s downtown library added wireless Internet access earlier this month, and there are plans to expand the technology to the city’s three other branches over the next two months.
"We saw this as the next big trend in computer technology, and part of our mission is to provide information to everyone and this is another way to provide access to information," said Brenda Brown, library manager for Chandler. "You can come into our coffee shop, sit down in the cafe and open your laptop and access the whole Internet with your library card and your PIN number."
The only other thing library patrons need to connect is wireless hardware on their laptops or other Internetcapable devices, she said.
Visitors also can use the service outside. "I received a comment from somebody in January who was visiting from another city that actually used our wireless access from outside the library when we were not open," Brown said.
Ron Stevens, information support specialist for Chandler’s public library system, said the wireless technology is capable of reaching between 50 and 75 feet from the exterior of the library building.
Wireless access is expected to help shorten the long lines that form to use the 300 computers available for public use at Chandler’s four libraries.
"This way, people, if they have their own device, can do things at their own leisure and that really releases some of our resources for other people to use," Stevens said.
Gordon Jesse, a faculty member at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, said he finds the new wireless access convenient.
"The best thing is being able to peruse the card catalogs of each of the local libraries," he said. "It’s handy to be able to look for stuff, and I didn’t have to wait for one of their machines."
Brown said the wireless system cost about $3,000 for the downtown library branch. But the cost to outfit the other libraries will be significantly less as the major expenses have been covered, she said. The money for the technology came from an Intel grant.