Free public WiFi available at all Midlothian libraries
Midlothian Council has taken a major step forward in enhancing digital services in the area by offering free public WiFi in libraries.
Available at all Midlothian Libraries
All nine Midlothian libraries are now offering free WiFi. This has been made possible by the Scottish Government Public Wireless Programme Fund which aims to enhance digital participation, improve rural connectivity and the uptake of online public services across Scotland. If you want to access free WiFi but don't have broadband at home you can now access it at your local library.
Bring your own devices
Midlothian libraries already offer IT suites where people can go in and use library computers. Now library users can take in their own devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops and use them with free WiFi access. WiFi is available to all library customers regardless of age so both young and old can develop their digital skills.
Join the library
All you need is your email address or library membership card or account information. If you are not already a member of the library please ask a member of staff about joining. If you don’t have an email address, friendly library staff will be happy to help you get online.
Benefits for library users
Miriam Canchado is one library user who is benefitting from the provision of free WiFi in libraries. She is looking for work and is in the process of making job applications. She says: "I do have WiFi at home but being in the library puts me in the right frame of mind and provides the right environment for me to focus on my task. At home there are too many distractions. This is a great service being offered by Midlothian Libraries."
Wendy Johnston, Library Assistant at Loanhead Library which is based in the Loanhead Centre, has seen many benefits of introducing public WiFi. She says: "The Loanhead Centre has several after school clubs running from the leisure facilities. It's very useful for parents who have to hang around after dropping children off as now they can use their waiting time productively catching up with work or social activities on their smart phones or tablets."
Encouraging digital participation
Libraries are increasingly playing a crucial role in promoting digital inclusion within communities in Scotland and encouraging digital participation. Recent work on Midlothian’s Customer Profile has shown that 15% of the local population have no interest in going online. However recent changes to benefit claim processes, particularly the need to apply for Universal Credit online, only means that this 15% need urgent support to become digitally literate in order to continue to receive benefits. Providing access to free Wi-Fi in public buildings is part of this process.
WiFi is essential technology
Cllr Stephen Curran, Cabinet member with responsibility for libraries said: “WiFi technology is an essential part of most people’s lives and it’s fantastic that we can now offer this service free in our libraries. All nine Midlothian libraries now have free public WiFi internet access not just for residents but also visitors to the area. We want to ensure that every citizen can participate in the online world."
Midlothian residents have access to the following libraries: Roslin Library, Dalkeith Library, Lasswade Library, Loanhead Library, Mayfield Library, Penicuik Library, Danderhall Library, Gorebridge Library and Newtongrange Library.
Thanks to the Public Wireless Programme Fund, WiFi is now also available at the Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend.