Thursday, June 12, 2008

City Council Unanimous In Support of WiFi Access

The City of Santa Fe’s City Council unanimously approved WiFi internet access in most City buildings at a Council meeting held June 11. Its implementation was held up for two years by a small group of area residents who cited an “allergy” to the technology and gave anecdotal evidence of adverse effects. The group focused on the three Santa Fe libraries, seeking to make them City refuges from the technology.

Earlier this month, the libraries had released information from a review of the libraries, that the Main library building already had a level of WiFi access; it came from surrounding homes, businesses and hotels. Both branches have also detected wireless sources. What the libraries sought was a stable source of WiFi for patron and staff use. Patricia Hodapp, director of libraries noted, “ Libraries believe in service. The Santa Fe Public Library plans to set up workshops on computer use for students, seniors and job seekers. With a wireless network and laptops, this can be achieved.”

In the last fiscal year, 763,000 people visited the three branches and just under 124,000 used the library’s 46 free internet computers. “By providing WiFi internet access to those who own laptops, we can free up our hard-wired computers for the thousands of people who need them,” Hodapp stated.

Hodapp said she was proud of the Council members for reviewing scientific studies and studying the issue fully. “They had the vision to move forward for the city of Santa Fe. We believe in service in libraries, and this will provide more service to the residents of the City.”

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