Library to offer Wi-Fi hotspots

Beginning Monday, the Oil City Library will make Wi-Fi hotspots available to its patrons.

Library director Dan Flaherty announced the new addition when he made a brief presentation to Oil City Council during the panel’s meeting Thursday.

“This is something people have been asking about,” Flaherty said.

The hotspots are devices that give people access to an Internet connection while on the go.

The goal is to help individuals or families avoid racking up data charges while on business trips or vacations, give people access to Wi-Fi who don’t have it at their home and give people the ability to have Internet connection if they need it for certain periods of time.

In order to check out a hotspot, patrols will need to use their library card and pay $1 per day or $5 for an entire week. The hotspots require a cell phone signal in order to broadcast the connection.

Flaherty said the charge for rental is necessary because the library incurs a monthly data charge.

“We want to ensure that we are only paying for as many charges as our patrons will utilize,” he said.

Flaherty also said there are numerous hotspots in reserve, but the library is waiting to gauge the popularity of the program before determining how many to process and/or keep for future use.

In other news, Flaherty said he is generally pleased with how the library has performed in its first year as an independent, non-profit entity.

“There have been some hiccups along the way,” he said. “But we are still fiscally sound and everything is going well.”

Flaherty said the focus has been increasing collaboration with the other libraries in the county, in addition to finding more partners and improving programming.

“We are starting to become what people expect in a modern day library,” Flaherty said.

One of the modern enhancements has been a growing digital presence, including the addition of the Wi-Fi hotspots.

Flaherty said the library has had about 12,000 computer logins and 6,000 people in Oil City have a library card.

“I think that’s a number we can significantly increase,” Flaherty said. “I’d like to see half of the county have a library card by next year…We never settle for the status quo.”