Shreveport Launches Program to Provide Free Wi-Fi to Residents Through Library Partnership

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – Residents of Shreveport will soon have the opportunity to get free Internet service through a new program with the city and the Shreve Memorial Library.

The program is called Universal Digital Access and provides free Wi-Fi in homes through libraries using a recently launched municipal cellular network. This will allow people who do not have the internet to access the library’s Wi-Fi network from home.

“Having a stable internet is something everyone wants, but not everyone can afford,” Mayor Adrian Perkins said. “Partnering with the Shreve Memorial Library system to provide free wireless hotspots is a game-changer for those who live around these libraries. They will now be able to access the internet from home, allowing them to work or learn remotely.

The mayor’s office says internet service isn’t always affordable for many residents who earn less than $35,000 a year, or 42.8 percent of the city’s population.

“Providing access to information resources is the primary purpose of public libraries,” said John Tuggle, executive director of the Shreve Memorial Library. “The economic and educational synergy created by these types of digital equity efforts builds the capacity for growth and prosperity in our communities. Universal digital access is a win-win for everyone.

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS

  • Library patrons can view a Universal Digital Access Kit from select Shreve Memorial Library locations
  • The kits allow residents in the cellular network coverage area to connect to library Wi-Fi from home
  • Participants must have a library card to borrow a kit
  • Kits will be verified for six months at a time
  • Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis

The program is currently in beta testing, the mayor’s office says. It should be available to the public from November 1. During the pilot phase, the kits will be available at checkout at the following library branches:

  • Hollywood/Union Ave – 2105 Hollywood Ave.
  • Atkins – 3704 Greenwood Road
  • Cedar Grove-Line Avenue – 8303 Line Ave.

The mayor’s office says there are plans in place to expand the program to more library branches in the future.

Ryan H. Bowman