Chris Jowaisas of TechnoBiblio brought up an important point about implementing Wi-Fi in libraries (or anywhere for that matter): the need for power. Sure, it’s great to have Wi-Fi, but with the terrible battery life many laptops have, not offering power outlets around the library may make it difficult for people to actually enjoy using the wireless access you worked so hard to provide.

If you are planning a Wi-Fi deployment make sure that you concurrently plan a “power strip” deployment. Your mobile users will love you for it. Not just for their laptops, but for all of thier recharging needs (cell phone, PDA, MP3 player, and microwave oven).

I don’t know about the microwave oven thing, but I agree that libraries must think about little practical issues like that before deciding to offer wireless access. I have found this to be a problem myself at many cafes and bookstores that offer wireless access, and it’s insanely frustrating to get to a hot spot only to realize you have about 20 minutes of battery life and there are no usable outlets in the place.

Thanks, Chris! I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before!