APL Partners with City to Provide Free WiFi in 3 Parks

December 11, 2018 | Library News

The Albany Public Library is partnering with the City of Albany to bring free wireless internet to three municipal parks—Washington, Lincoln, and Bleecker-Swinburne—in Spring 2019.

The project, which will be funded by the Library and maintained by the City, will provide parkgoers with free WiFi in several neighborhoods where many residents lack internet service in their own homes.

“Libraries have always been the primary bridge over the digital divide, and for many people we are their only source for internet service. This project allows us to reach more people in the community,” said Scott C. Jarzombek, APL executive director. “Libraries cannot just be inside the four walls of their buildings. We need to be embedded in the community we serve. By providing WiFi services in several city parks, Albany Public Library is reaching further into the community and expanding our services to meet its needs.”

“Every day we see how vital internet access is to connecting our residents with job opportunities, educational resources, and local services,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Bringing WiFi to Washington, Lincoln, and Bleecker-Swinburne parks will help us as we continue to work toward closing the digital divide, especially in some of our most historically underserved communities. I am excited to expand the City’s relationship with the Albany Public Library and thank Executive Director Scott Jarzombek, as well as our Commissioner of Recreation Jonathan Jones and Chief Information Officer Mark Dorry, for their commitment to Albany’s neighborhoods.”

“I am excited that three of our City parks will have free WiFi beginning in Spring 2019 through a partnership with the Albany Public Library,” said Department of Recreation Commissioner Jonathan Jones. “The ability to connect to the internet for free will provide a 21st-century amenity in our parks and adjoining neighborhoods where many simply cannot afford it. This effort is yet another example of all we can accomplish for our residents by working together.”

People already rely on the library to provide internet access. Each month at APL’s seven branches, more than 12,000 patrons use the library’s public computers and more than 7,000 people access WiFi on their own devices. Access to the internet from those sources enables people to apply for jobs online, stay connected to family through email and social media, and continue to be engaged members of the community. Jarzombek said the library was part of the City’s broadband study, and he recognized that APL needed to be a key partner in providing free WiFi to Albany residents.

“Our strategic plan calls for an expansion of wireless internet as a way to enhance the library’s space, tools, and resources as a platform for community learning, creativity, and engagement. We’re thrilled to be able to do that in the City’s parks, where people from different neighborhoods gather for recreation and fellowship,” Jarzombek said.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is APL's public information officer, and manages the library's communications, public relations, and marketing efforts. No, she isn't a librarian, but feels as if she's among her people here at the library.