The Greenwood Branch of the Seattle Public Library system opened Jan. 29: My officemate and I stopped in to take a look at this fantastic building a few blocks from our office and chatted with the branch manager. We asked, "Is there Wi-Fi?" She said, no, but there's a plan afoot to roll it out to branches soon. But she noted that the first phone call they received after re-opening was from someone asking the same question! It's a trend.
The library was funded by Libraries for All, a truly remarkable levy that helped fund our tremendous new downtown branch (Wi-Fi throughout, Vocera badges in use by librarians), and revamp or rebuild a number of aged neighborhood libraries that were incredibly overused. Some libraries are four times as large, and the community is overjoyed. We're apparently the readingest, bookbuyingest city in the U.S.
I'm hoping that the libraries will come before citizens again soon and ask for a levy to fund operator expenses: we need more library hours, more staff, more books. The libraries are well used here, and people seem to like to pay for them (indirectly). I know I do.
Ironically, a coffeeshop half a block from the library has been hoping they'll add Wi-Fi: the shop is too small to handle more than its usual packed array of regulars and passers-by, so they hope to shunt the Wi-Fi needy over to what will be a free service at the library.