Library fans rejoice: the Whitehorse Public Library now offers free unlimited internet.
The government announced the new service May 10 and said unlimited bandwidth would be coming to the Teslin, Watson Lake and Carmacks public libraries within the next two years.
“The wifi changes have been a long time coming,” said Aimee Ellis, director of public libraries.
Before, the Whitehorse Public Library restricted internet access to one hour per patron per day.
With more and more government services and information accessible online, it’s especially important people be able to access good internet services at the library, Ellis said.
“We need to support the access to the information. It’s important for our democracy.”
It’s also reinforcing the role of public libraries in offering services and a space not available elsewhere.
“It’s the last bastion of public space in our world,” she said. “Most public places are becoming more and more locked down and restricted for people to linger and loiter. Public libraries are kind of like each community living room or the modern-day town square.”
Ellis isn’t too concerned the library will be overrun with internet-cravers anytime soon.
“That would be a good problem to have,” she said. “I think a lot of people don’t make use of the public library, (they) would find a lot of useful information, tools, materials that can be borrowed.”
She is hoping that the internet changes will let more people know what the library offers.
“From looking at the ArtsNet listserv, I don’t think many people understand we have an awesome collection of DVDs.”
While the internet limit is gone, use of library computers is still limited to an hour a day.
“We understand it does to a degree privilege people who already have their own device,” Ellis said. “We’re exploring how we can meet the needs for those don’t have their own device.”
For more information about Yukon public libraries, visit ypl.gov.yk.ca.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org