November 3rd 2015: WiFi in libraries is a vital step into the future in terms of mass community connectivity, according to leading WiFi provider WiFi SPARK.
The Government’s Budget announcement that £7.1 million would be made available for the project has been welcomed by the business. WiFi SPARK currently provides WiFi for many libraries including Birmingham, Liverpool and Southwark. This could mean an average estimated £49,000 injection for each authority to invest in WiFi access.
Less than half of all libraries in England are believed to have public WiFi access, according to figures released in December last year by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
Dean Moody, Chief Commercial Officer from WiFi SPARK said: “Libraries have redeveloped over the past decade to become vibrant community focal points for information and education. It’s inconceivable that WiFi doesn't play a part in this – yet we know that libraries are strapped for cash, having suffered massive cuts from the Councils that run them over the last five years. We very much welcome the Government’s commitment to helping them out in this way.”
WiFi SPARK provides WiFi for the newly redeveloped Library of Birmingham. This state-of-the-art building provides free and fast visitor internet access throughout. Thanks to the popularity of the library with special events, conferences and exhibitions they have now instructed WiFi SPARK to provide a premium branded solution which will showcase content and branding relevant and exclusive to the specific event.
Dean Moody: “Library WiFi isn't just about internet access for people bringing in their devices. It is used to search and reserve books, to join the library, study, use social media, research family and local history and get information about events and news in the area. Of course with the WiFi SPARK system all the access is filtered, to protect the library and young users.”
The Library of Birmingham is a great example of all of this. It’s open seven days a week and is the future of libraries, showcasing all the city’s archives, featuring a state-of the-art gallery space and opening public access to the National Film Archive. The Library was also shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014, being voted Britain’s favourite new building 2014 in a BBC poll and being the most visited cultural destination outside London in 2014, with over 2.4 million visitors. In the first year of operation (Sept 13 – Sept 14), nearly 5,000 people logged onto the free WiFi every month.
“Not everyone is fortunate enough to have internet access or even a suitable study environment at home. WiFi SPARK’s service is very easy to connect to and use. As part of the service, we also supply marketing materials including window stickers, posters and leaflets to help get people connected as well as provide training to staff and a 24/7 end user helpdesk.”
Integrating WiFi SPARK’s solution also helps libraries understand more about their customers through its powerful reporting and analytics platform as well as prompt users to participate in identified or anonymous surveys.
Help your library promote “digital social inclusion” by contacting WiFi SPARK.
Rebecca O’Donovan | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0344 848 9555