Calderdale library users get connected

Halifax Central Library and Northgate House.
Halifax Central Library and Northgate House.

Visitors to libraries across Calderdale are set to benefit from greater availability of Wi-Fi, thanks to a £36,000 grant from Arts Council England.

Calderdale Council is using the funding to extend its existing free Wi-Fi service, which is already available at ten libraries including Halifax, Brighouse, King Cross, Hebden Bridge, Mixenden and Todmorden.

This means that all 22 libraries in the borough will have Wi-Fi for connecting smart phones, tablets and laptops, by the end of March 2016.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for communities, Coun Steve Sweeney, said: “This generous grant from Arts Council England is a great boost for local people. We know how important fast, reliable and free internet connections are, and we want visitors to be able to access as much information as possible in our libraries. Providing Wi-Fi for the first time at certain sites and upgrading our current provision is another way we can ensure this. It also helps with our aim to get more people online, who might not have easy access to the internet.”

To help people make the most of the Wi-Fi boost, library staff and volunteers are on hand to give practical help and advice on using the internet.

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England said: “Arts Council England has worked hard with its partners from the Libraries Task Force to support local authorities to meet the deadline and submit applications. It’s brilliant that as a result, over 98 per cent of public libraries in England will be providing access to free, good quality Wi-Fi by March 2016. I’m so pleased that this important fund is enabling libraries across England to offer more vital services to their users and encourage more people to use and enjoy their local libraries.”

More than 1000 libraries across 68 local authorities are benefiting from Arts Council England’s Wi-Fi in Public Libraries in England Fund, which is being delivered on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.