WiFi Hotspots in Libraries and Bookshops

How I love the increasing number of services libraries have been introducing over the last 2 decades. In the very begining libraries provided us only with books and periodicals, then in the 1980s they started providing us with access to CD-ROM databases on computers, as well as allowing us to rent videos to watch at home. In the late 1990s came computers with Internet access (for us to check our e-mails and browse the web), and DVD movies to rent.

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: you are at your local public library typing your project on your laptop or reading a book, and suddenly you need to check your e-mail or browse the web, but the library's computers with Internet access are all fully booked or in use. The solution is to use the WiFi Hotspot in the library (if it has one of course!)

Starting from late 2002 (first in the U.S.) libraries began to offer WiFi Hotspots. Initially only university, college and special libraries around the world offered WiFi Hotspots, but around middle 2003, a number of public and national libraries also began to offer WiFi Hotspots. The purpose of this webpage is to list WiFi Hotspots in public and national libraries, as well as bookshops.

Below is a list of such libraries, as well information on whether the WiFi Hotspots free or paid. Paid WiFi Hotspots require subscriptions or passes, (usually paid via credit/debit cards, token receipts or via mobile phone account debits). Some public libraries may restrict free access to card holders, but for the majority the access is usually unrestricted. Access at public libraries may be filtered to block access to certain types of web sites and sending of e-mail may be prohibited.

N.B. if the WiFi Hotspots (free or paid) is a public service, such as those run by T-mobile, Swisscom and BT Openzone in the U.K., then the WEP must be disabled on your laptop or PDA WiFi settings, so that you are not prompted to input network key and other technical data. Also select Infrastructure mode or Access Point mode (disable Ad-Hoc mode). Meanwhile the SSID (network name) will normally be automatically selected for free or paid WiFi Hotspots, as well as other network variables such WiFi channel, IP number, gateway number, DNS server numbers, etc as long as the DHCP is enabled on your laptop or PDA settings. Most library WiFi Hotspots are 802.11b or 802.11g compliant, a few are 802.11a compliant.

Finally, you have finished your work in the library and need to have a quick snack, but along the way you decide to check you e-mail again. while this web page will not be listing WiFi Hotsopts not located in libraries, from my extensive searches on the web, I have found out that the largest international directory of WiFi Hotspots is JiWire (meaning Joining Invisible Wires), an American company. By January 2005 its directory lists over 58,200 Wi-Fi Hotspots in over 96 countries worldwide (both FREE and PAID hotspots), in places such as restaurants, cafes, coffee shops like Starbucks, airports, hotels, government buildings, universities etc.

The most exciting thing about JiWire is that apart from the web-based directory. you can also download an offline version for Windows XP & 2K, Pocket PC and Palm OS for PDAs and Apple Macintosh computers. This is useful if you are looking a WiFi hotspot near to you and you are offline. The free software is actually a bespoke database, which once installed on a computer or PDA, it is updated automatically, whenever you get online, to include the latest WiFi Hotspots, which is really cool.

You can download the free JiWire WiFi offline database here. Hurry and download quickly though... seems to me this free database software is for promotional purposes, and may soon become a commercial product or shareware.



Name: British Library, Euston Road, London.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by BT Openzone and The Cloud.

Compared to the U.S., WiFi hotspots in public libraries are not widespread in the U.K. and Europe, but the CILIP (the professional organization for UK librarians) is investigating the possibility of offering WiFi hotspots in public libraries and a conference took place at the QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, London in January 2005 to address the provision of WiFi in U.K. public libraries. Click here for more details.

One of the major goals of the U.K. Government's People's Network project was to ensure 99% of public libraries in the U.K. had Internet access, and the provision of WiFi in public libraries will certainly enhance this goal.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, the Department of Trade and Industry, and The Countryside Agency are working in partnership to trial WiFi hotspots in 10 rural public libraries across England. The libraries involved are: Ayton Library (North Yorkshire), Barnard Castle Library (County Durham), Belper Library (Derbyshire), Brewood Library (Staffordshire), Chatburn Library (Lancashire),Launceston Library (Cornwall),Lyndhurst Library (Hampshire), Potton Library (Bedfordshire), Princetown Library (Devon)and Sandwich Library (Kent).

Name: Internet Exchange centres in selected U.K. public libraries.
URL of Internet Exchange.
Details: While not technically inside the public library itself, several Internet Exchange centres are housed inside the same building housing a number of London public libraries. Internet Exchange centres are the leading network of IT access and training centres in the U.K. They also offer competively priced PAID WiFi hotspots operated mainly by Surf and Sip. The current public libraries in London with adjacent Internet Exchange centres, for readers to pop in and use are:
Victoria Public Library (160 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1)
Bromley Central Public Library, (High Street, Bromley BR1)
Stratford Public Library (East London Centre, Boardman House, 64 Broadway, E15)
Willesden Green Public Library (95 High Street, NW10)
Kilburn Public Library (42 Salusbury Road, NW6)
Putney Public Library (Disraeli Road, SW15)
Streatham Public Library (63 Streatham High Road, SW16)
Brixton Public Library (Brixton Hill Parade, Brixton Oval, SW12)
Shepherd's Bush Public Library (7 Uxbridge Road, W12)
Acton Public Library, (High Street, W3)
Ealing Central Public Library, (103 Ealing Broadway Centre, W5)
Kensington Central Public Library (Phillimore Walk, W8)
Battersea Library (265 Lavender Hill, SW11)
Harlesden Public Library (Craven Park Road, NW10)
Ilford Public Library(Clements Road,Essex, IG1)
North Kensington Public Library(108 Ladbroke Grove, W11)
Stoke Newington Public Library (Church Street, N16)

Name: London Borough of Lewisham Public Libraries.
URL of Library.
Details: FREE in all branches.

Name: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Public Library, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond.
URL of Library.
Details: Although there are wireless networks in the library building that are used for the People's Network computers, these WiFi networks are not accessible to the public at this time.

Name: Birmingham Library, Chamberlain Square. B3 3HQ.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by Surf and Sip.

Name: Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY.
URL of Library.
Details: FREE. Via the library's iCAM booking system. All users provided with a login and password. The project is a pilot at the moment, but should be a permanent fixture shortly. The library will be spreading it to other libraries beginning with the soon to be opened Arena Park Library in late April 2005.

Name: Potton Library, Clock House, Potton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NP.
URL of Library. Details of Potton Library can be found by clicking "About Bedfordshire Libraries" and then clicking "Your Libraries".
Details: FREE. This WiFi Hotspot is available even when the library is closed and can accessed from everywhere in the market square.

Name: Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, London.
URL of Bookshop.
Details: FREE at the bookshop's Cafe. But do buy a cup of coffee as a thank you gesture!

Name: Borders Bookshop, Oxford Street, London.
URL of Bookshop.
Details: FREE. Choose StreetNet from the list of available wireless networks. This is the free WiFi service. Others reachable at Borders are all PAID services such as T-Mobile.

Name: Selected FNAC Bookshop Cafes in Paris:
136 Rue du Rennes, Montparnasse, 75011; 109, Rue Saint-Lazare, Saint-Lazare 75009; 30, Avenue d'Italie 75013; 74, Avenue des Champs-Elysées 75008.
URL of FNAC bookshops.
Details: PAID. Operated by Orange.

Name: American Library in Paris, 10, Rue du Général-Camou 75007 Paris.
URL of library.
Details: FREE. As this is a private library, only current members have free access. But visitors to the library can buy a cheap one-day pass, which not only gives visitors free unlimited WiFi access in the library for one day, but also free access to the libraries recources such as U.S. and French newspapers, magazines, English language books, etc. Borrowing of books however is not possible with one-day pass.

Name: Privatklinik Bad Wiessee Bibliothek, Bad Wiessee, Bavaria.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by T-Mobile.

Name: Bad Liebenwerda Stadtbibliothek, Bad Liebenwerda.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by T-Mobile.

Name: Stadtbibliothek Siegburg, Siegburg.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by T-Mobile.

Name: Landesbibliothekszentrum, Koblenz, Rheinland-pfalz.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by T-Mobile.

Name: Biblioteca Chiesa Rossa, Via S.Domenico Savio, Milan.
URL of Library.
Details: FREE.

Name: Biblioteca Sormani, Milan.
URL of Library.
Details: FREE.

Name: Zentralbibliothek (Central Public Library), Zurich.
URL of Library.
Details: PAID. Operated by Monzoon.

Name: FNAC Bookshop, Rue Neuve 123, Brussels.
URL of bookshop.
Details: PAID. Operated by Belgacom.


Name: New York Public Library, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island branches.
URL of Library
Details: FREE.

Name: U.S. public libraries.
URL of Libraries
Details: Comprehensive list of over 830 public libraries in the U.S. that have FREE or PAID WiFi Hotspots. From Wireless Librarian website. N.B. If you are a visitor from Europe, remember that in the U.S., WiFi channels 12 and 13 are not available.

Name: Richmond Public Library, British Colombia.
URL of Library
Details: FREE via IREADY. Users to register their computer the first time they use it with their library card number and PIN.

Name: Greater Victoria Public Library, Victoria, British Colombia.
URL of Library
Details: FREE.

Name: Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Kingston, Ontario.
URL of Library
Details: PAID. Operated by Bell AccessZone.

Name: Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library; New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
URL of Library
Details: FREE.

Name: Eastern Counties Regional Library, Mulgrave, Nova Scotia.
URL of Library
Details: FREE.

Name: South Shore Regional Library, Nova Scotia.
URL of Library
Details: FREE at branches at Bridgewater, Lunenburg, and the Thomas H. Raddall Library in Liverpool

Name: Cumberland Regional Library, Nova Scotia.
URL of Library
Details: The main Amherst branch offers open wireless Internet access to library patrons.


Name: Tokyo Metroplitan Central Library, 5-7-1 Minamiazabu Minato-ku, Tokyo.
URL of Library
Details: PAID. Operated by iPass.

Name: Arakawa City Library, Tokyo.
URL of Library
Details: PAID. Operated by T-Mobile.

Send in details of any WiFi Hotspots in libraries (excluding university, college and special libraries) and Bookshops to:

e-mail: infolibrary@yahoo.co.uk

Please send URLs of U.S. public libraries with Wifi Hotspots to Wireless Librarian website (link given above in the U.S. section), since their website is well ahead of mine, as it has already listed over 900 libraries across the U.S. with WiFi Hotspots. All URLs of other libraries outside the U.S. can be sent to this website for inclusion.