Ocean State Libraries, OSHEAN aid distance learning with outdoor Wi-Fi

WITH MORE DISTANCE LEARNING by students, OSHEAN and Ocean State Libraries have launched a program offering free, secure Wi-Fi in the Warwick Public Library parking lot. / COURTESY OCEAN STATE LIBRARIES

WARWICK – Warwick Public Library now has free, secure outdoor Wi-Fi, accessible from the library’s parking lot, Ocean State Libraries and the Ocean State Higher Education and Economic Development and Administrative Network announced.

OSHEAN is a nonprofit coalition of universities, K-12 schools, libraries, hospitals, government agencies and other groups that works to provide technology solutions for member institutions and the community. Along with Ocean State Libraries, the goal for the Warwick library’s outdoor Wi-Fi is that more internet accessibility would help serve the expansion of students doing distance learning, OSHEAN said in a statement. This accessibility would be present whether the branch is open or not.

Ocean State Libraries and OSHEAN will be expanding the project to include outdoor Wi-Fi networks at several other OSL libraries throughout the coming months.

Extensive use is anticipated, said Stephen Spohn, Ocean State Libraries executive director.

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“Libraries have become the storefront of government,” he said in a statement. “I’ve traveled around libraries all over the country and have seen people stop in the library parking lot on their way to and from work to take advantage of the library Wi-Fi while the libraries have been closed. Sadly, I’ve also seen people sitting in their cars trying to apply for unemployment or filling out forms they can’t get from closed government offices due to lack of internet or computers at home.”

Grants from the Rhode Island Foundation and OSHEAN, with hardware donated by the Information Technology Disaster Recovery Center, also made the project possible, with installation by Intellibeam, OSHEAN and Ocean State Libraries.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.

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