Libraries Using WiFi To Connect Customers During Shelter

Have you noticed that even though the libraries are closed right now, their parking lots are not empty?

People are getting creative in their quest for Internet access during the coronavirus pandemic.

This may seem hard to believe in the Bay Area is an exception, but one in four American homes does not have high-speed Internet access, according to the Pew Research Center.

San Carlos City Council member and San Mateo County Library Board member Sarah McDowell told KCBS Radio libraries around the Bay Area have boosted signals for outdoor access, along with loaning out computers and Wi-Fi hotspots by the hundreds.

"We all know now that it’s being used for distance learning, working from home," McDowell said. "It’s fighting social isolation by allowing people to see and talk with their loved ones. So providing Wi-Fi access and also computers to our patrons is one of the ways the library is hoping to make a difference during this unprecedented time."

Libraries all over the Bay Area are getting creative by adding WiFi options.
Tim Ryan/KCBS Radio

Chris Romero is sheltering-in-place in Pacifica. He’s staying connected via a library hotspot.

"I browse for entertainment or news updates for sure," Romero said. "I’ve also been able to use it to contact like the San Mateo County Health Officer’s (website) for COVID information. It’s always great to to keep on top of things."

Romero said it’s quite reliable.

In fact, he was out hiking and answered my call via hotspot.