BT and Barclays launch pilot library wi-fi scheme

The culture minister Ed Vaizey has launched a pilot scheme co-ordinated by BT and Barclays to provide free wi-fi to 100 libraries and community centres nationwide.

The pilot scheme is set to run for two years and in addition to providing wi-fi the two companies will provide digital support with specially trained staff to offer tips and advice for users to access digital services.

Ed Vaizey said: “It is very important for libraries to continually modernise themselves to meet the needs of the communities they serve – initiatives like this one will help them take a big step in doing so.

As more services become available online then increasingly libraries and other community spaces will be the place to go for people who don’t have the access or the confidence to use digital services.

The presence of a member of staff or volunteer to help people navigate this digital space is invaluable and is one of the key things that libraries and other community spaces involved in this project have over other places that also offer wi-fi.”

Initially 100 sites will be involved in the initial pilot but depending on its success there is scope for a future extension at a later date.

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