Photo by Flickr user @knightfoundation, used under a Creative Commons license.
The Free Library‘s 54 branches saw nearly 1.4 million public computer logins in fiscal year 2013, according to data from the Free Library’s electronic resources coordinator Jamie Wilson. The Central Library offer one-hour sessions, while the branches offer 30-minute sessions because they have fewer computers. Its Wi-Fi usage is growing, too. At more than 188,000 Wi-Fi sessions in fiscal year 2013, Wi-Fi usage has more than doubled since fiscal year 2011. The Free Library began offering Wi-Fi in 2008.
These are the top five branches when it comes to most Wi-Fi sessions, according to data from the Free Library:
- Parkway Central Library (1901 Vine Street, Center City)
- Independence Branch (18 S. 7th Street, Washington Square West)
- Northeast Regional Library (2228 Cottman Avenue, Castor/Rhawnhurst)
- Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library (68 West Chelten Avenue, Germantown)
- Frankford Branch (4634 Frankford Ave, Frankford)
Mayor Nutter proposed spending $2.5 million of the city’s 2015 budget to keep the Free Library’s 54 branches open six days a week. It’s as much an investment in closing the digital divide as the $624,000 was that he put toward keeping the city’s recreation center computer labs in 2014. Branches offer computer classes and open computer lab hours. The Free Library also has 120 computers that are designated for younger children, with large, colorful keyboards and early literacy software. Those 120 computers are more than four years old, so the Library plans to replace them, according to Nutter’s five-year plan. Most recently, the Free Library launched a partnership with educational software Treehouse that lets card-holders learn to code for free. Read about the Brooklyn Public Library’s internet usage on our sister site, Technical.ly Brooklyn.
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