More libraries in Kent are failing to provide wireless internet access than anywhere else in the country. According to a government survey, 65 of the county’s 99 libraries do not offer WiFi. It follows a warning from ministers that the lack of WiFi could fuel their alarming decline.
Nationwide, more than 700 public libraries do not have WiFi, with wireless access far more widespread in big cities while rural areas miss out. After Kent, the next worst-hit areas are Cumbria with 46, Durham with 33, Lincolnshire with 31 and Northumberland with 30. In contrast, libraries in 26 of London’s 32 boroughs all have WiFi.
And Bradford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester and Stoke all boast 100 per cent coverage in their libraries. The survey, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), follows a warning to ministers that public libraries are doomed unless they offer WiFi. That was the stark conclusion, last December, of the Independent Library Report for England, which followed at least 324 closures since 2011.
A Kent County Council spokesman said: “Kent Libraries Registration and Archives is currently offering Wi-Fi in 34 of its 99 libraries. We are preparing a bid to Arts Council England for funding to expand coverage to the remaining 65 libraries.”
Cross-post from Kent Online.by