Fast, Free Web Access At Your Local Library

Despite all the tech innovations I share with you from time to time on my Web site -- some of them sharply lowering the cost of Internet access -- having a home Net connection or a computer just may not feasible for some of you. If that's the case, you may want to check out your local public library.

Based on responses from close to a third of the nation's libraries in a Florida State University study, virtually all of them (98.9 percent) provide free Internet access to the public, a phenomenal surge compared to a decade ago (21 percent). And, if you have a laptop equipped for wireless Net access, the news is even better: Eighteen percent of the libraries polled provide such access, and more than 20 percent plan to add such services within the next 12 months.

Free Internet access provided by your local library may also explain why the number of annual visits doubled over the past decade or so to 1.2 billion, according to the American Library Association.

A couple of numbers to keep in mind about the emergence of the Internet and free access:

  • A recent study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found two-thirds of American adults use the Internet.
  • Fourteen percent of those Internet users depend on free access from libraries, schools or work because they have no connection at home, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

New York Times June 24, 2005 Registration Required

The (Lakeland, Fla.) Ledger June 23, 2005

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