Wireless Access at the Austin Public Library

Wireless Access at the Austin Public Library

WiFi at APL
Free Wireless Internet access is
available at all Austin Public Library locations.

Connecting: Bring your laptop or PDA with an 802.11 wireless networking card (or built-in Wi-Fi capability) to the Library. When you open your Internet browser, the wireless card should detect the signal immediately. Read the Library's Acceptable Use Policy for Wireless Access. Click the I Accept button. The Library's WiFi @ APL page will appear. Click the browser's Home icon to see your computer's home page.

Troubleshooting tips: Due to liability concerns, Library staff cannot provide technical assistance and will not perform troubleshooting on personal laptops, PDAs, or other devices. There is no guarantee that you will be able to connect to the wireless system; however, you may try some of the following basic troubleshooting tips:

  • Be sure your 802.11 wireless card is plugged in tightly to the correct slot.
  • Look for the network name (SSID) "Austin Public Library" in your wireless card's utility program.
  • Try moving to a different floor at the Central Library or to a different part of the Library in a branch.
  • Ask the staff to check the wireless server status.
  • Check the wireless card manufacturer's Web support page by using a Library public Internet workstation or bring your wireless card manual with you the next time you come to the Library. To find links to product support sites, visit The Certified Product Listing provided by Wi-Fi Alliance.

Printing: Printing is not available using the Library's wireless connection. Email a file to yourself or save to a disk, and then use one of the Library's public Internet computers to send your print job.

Filtering: In compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), the Austin Public Library uses SurfControl to filter the public computer stations and OpenDNS to filter the wireless connection. Customers using the computers or wireless access must agree to comply with the Acceptable Use Policy for Public Use Workstations as well as the Acceptable Use Policy for Wireless Access. If a blocked site is needed for "bona fide research or other lawful purposes," unfiltered public computers are available for adults 17 years or older in every Library location except the St. John Branch. Customers may submit a Request for Reconsideration form to ask that the Library permanently unblock or block a specific site. Forms are available at all Library locations. Library staff will evaluate the site and decide whether to accept the customer's request usually within two weeks. Customers providing contact information will be notified about the decision. For more information, visit the Filtering at the Austin Public Library page.

Time limits: The wireless system will log out after two hours or 45 minutes of inactivity. When this happens, click the "I Accept" button again to continue browsing.

Security: The Library's wireless network, like all Wi-Fi hotspots, is not secure. Third parties may be able to intercept personal information transmitted over the wireless network. Customers are advised not to transmit sensitive information. Installing updated virus protection software is highly recommended. Users create, store, and use personal files at their own risk. The Library is not responsible for the damage or loss of laptops or other hardware, personal information, electronic documents, diskettes, and/or files.

Plugging in: It is best to bring a fully-charged battery. A limited number of electrical outlets, as well as Ethernet ports, are available at some locations. Please do not block walkways, Library materials, or Library service desks. You will need to provide your own cords and cables.

Searching the Library catalog and databases: Customers may access the Library Catalog as well as the Library Databases using the wireless network. A Library card number will not be required to use the databases.