Wi-Fi approved for city library

DOWNEY - Library patrons will soon be able to wirelessly connect to the Internet from their laptops and mobile devices - at no charge - after the City Council on Tuesday agreed to fund the installation of Wi-Fi technology.Wi-Fi will come at a cost of about $18,740 from the city's general fund, half of which will be used to purchase six access points that would cover all public areas in the library, including the computer lab. The library requested an additional $9,000 for furniture to accommodate Wi-Fi users, community services director Thad Phillips told the Council. People who tap into the Wi-Fi network will first be redirected to a splash screen where they will have to accept the library's terms of service before continuing. Internet access is unfiltered and unsecured, but the city is under no inherit liability resulting from Wi-Fi use, Phillips says he was told by new city attorney Yvette Abich Garcia. The library also received permission Tuesday to upgrade its existing T1 Internet connection to a faster T1 3MB line, which will allow more people to simultaneously use the library's computer network, Phillips said. A faster Internet connection also improves video playback and speeds up download times. The city will pay $700 per month for the T1 3MB connection. Council members on Tuesday were unanimous in agreeing to fund the Wi-Fi, a proposal first brought up by Councilman Mario Guerra. Library patrons and residents had been vocal in recent years about the lack of wireless Internet at the library. "It's an investment in our youth and an investment in our city," said Councilman Fernando Vasquez. "It's long overdue." "All I can add to that," said Councilman David Gafin, "is it's about time." Installation of wireless Internet is expected to take about two months, Phillips said. The access points will be stationed where the magazine shelves were located. More than 200 current edition magazines were moved to the main reading room. Furniture will consist of workstations capable of seating two people at a time - for students working on project - and individual seating, Phillips said. Mayor Luis Marquez said he would like to see Wi-Fi installed at the Columbia Memorial Space Center and the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center in the future and raised the possibility of paying for its installation through grants.

********** Published: February 10, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 43