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Mass of wifi users make library unappealing to residents

By March 24, 2016 No Comments

Tourists are overrunning the library and council office with their use of free wifi.

At the community board earlier this month, it was heard that Raglan residents no longer feel that they can go to the library because it is always filled with tourists.

The community board had requested that the Waikato District Council advertise that free wifi was also available at the iSite, to reduce the number of people taking up space outside and inside the library and council office.

However, council says it does not manage the iSite, and it is not aware if the information centre has any plans to advertise its free wifi.

At the community board meeting, Waikato District councillor Clint Baddeley said the library was a service for the community, a place where they could go to get out some books, sit quietly or read the paper.

“Local people should feel they can go to the library,” agreed community board member Lisa Thomson. “But it’s filled with people on wifi.”

Ms Thomson said she was unsure that visitors to Raglan knew that the iSite had free wifi because most went to the library.

She said they sat there for hours occupying space.

Bob MacLeod said tourists should use the free wifi at the iSite, because the information centre was a service for tourists.

“I know talking to the (council) area manager that he is having a real issue with the use of wifi at the service desk.”

Mr MacLeod said the “council just grinds to a halt” with the amount of people taking up shared space to use the free wifi.

“They shouldn’t be sitting there all day,” says Kelly Clarkson. “Fifteen minutes is fine but all day? How does that impact my kid? Seeing them sitting there, staring at their screens.”

iSite team leader Te Aronui Maihi says they don’t want to be overcrowded with wifi users, either.

“We give out a minimum amount and then they get charged.”

She says having the bus stop outside the library means that the library gets a lot of wifi users.

She says the iSite hasn’t advertised its wifi because there are problems with it cutting out, and she is unsure of how far its coverage goes.

She says it would be good to expand the coverage of the wifi and have picnic tables outside, in the park area, where wifi users can sit.

WDC customer support general manager Sue Duignan says the record number of people through the library door in one day, not including those sitting outside using free wifi, is 816, on January 8, 2016.

She says the weather makes a huge impact on numbers.

“If the weather is fine we get on average 350 people through the door;  on a poor weather day we get about 600 people.”

She says in December the library had 10,324 people through the door, and 7,237 wifi users.

Ms Duignan says there have been no formal complaints regarding wifi users since the refurbishment of the library last year.

“The refurbishment included changing the front of the library so that people could sit under the cover to the side, out of the way of the entrance.

“In January we extended our wifi coverage – the wifi now goes 100m in each direction. This may also reduce the number of people sitting directly outside the library.

“Wifi is a service that we offer at all our libraries. We are committed to ensuring all New Zealanders have access to wifi services.”

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