Hamilton's Central Library branch on day two of reopening following the 2020 COVID shutdown Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

The Hamilton Public Library says it will cost $460,000 to expand WiFi coverage at all 22 of its branches, following an increase need for outdoor WiFi access during the COVID pandemic.

“During the lockdown, people were observed in parking lots and beside buildings to catch WiFi bleeding from the library”, writes Hamilton Chief Librarian Paul Talaka in a report. “While HPL continues to work on improving internal WiFi, it’s become apparent that free outdoor WiFi is a high need as well”.

Talaka says the HPL applied for $100,000 grant from the Healthy Communities Grant Fund to cover a significant portion of the outdoor WiFi device purchase and installation. Staff will bring a report to the board in the upcoming months to request much needed funds for this upgrade, less any amounts we may be successful to receive from the grant.”