Sunday, 20 March 2011

Wirelss Revolution In Staffs Libraries

By Ben Aulakh

A technological innovation is attracting more visitors though Staffordshire libraries, according to the County Council.

A total of 341, 000 people set foot in Burton library over the summer, an increase of 6000 that has been largely put down to the introduction of wireless internet.

Now the system, which allows anyone in the facility with a laptop to surf the web without a cabled connection, is being rolled out at libraries across the county.

The decision to expand the service comes on the back of the highly successful pilot at Burton Libray, which saw such a dramatic increase in footfall in just a few months.

Free Wifi access is being introduced at a time when many libraries across the country are under 

Staffordshire County Council, however, has pledged its ongoing support for the service.
County Councillor Pat Corfield, Cabinet member for Culture, Communities and Customers said, 

“While libraries around the country are closing, Staffordshire is committed to protecting and innovating the service to meet people's needs.

“It's very clear that libraries are a priority for the people of Staffordshire. And that is why we want to offer a full range of resources for the whole community.”

The local authority has promised that no libraries will be closed as it invests in new technology and services to ensure that facilities are used as community meeting places, alongside their traditional role. 

Cllr Corfield added, “Our network of 43 libraries and the mobile library service provides a knowledge hub for people in all walks of life. 

"Whether you are a job seeker looking for ways to get back into work, or a business executive looking to access information, libraries provide a route to opportunity.”

The county’s library facilities also offer free computer access, IT training sessions, access to music and film, and meeting rooms with high tech office support for businesses and community groups. 

In just the last 12months the service has run more than 2,600 IT training events, helping people to get on line and get active, from silver surfers to budding entrepreneurs.

The Wifi service has been tested and the formula has been carefully adjusted following detailed feedback from customers.

The only libraries that will not be included in the Wifi roll out are the satellite libraries at Great Wyrley, Gnosall, Knutton and Wilnecote.

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