Computers and Wi-Fi

Public Computers and Internet Access

The Austin Public Library provides free internet for all ages. All locations including Recycled Reads and the Austin History Center have free unlimited wireless access.

Connection to Wireless Internet

The Austin Public Library also offers free wireless Internet access at every location. The wireless network is called Austin Public Library. No account ID or password is required but once your device is connected you must open an internet browser and accept the terms of use to fully get online.

Creating a Public Computer Account

To use an internet computer at the Library you must understand and agree to comply with our Acceptable Use Policy for Public Use Workstations. To use a computer for the first time, show a Library Card or photo ID to staff. We will create a login ID for you to use each time you use a public computer at any Library location.

Time Limits and Reservations

You are allowed 120 minutes (2 hours) of computer time per day systemwide. Session durations vary from location to location, as do the number of computers. You may make a reservation for the current day within a Library location, for that location only. Reservations for public computers may not be made online or over the phone.

Software and Hardware

Each workstation has been set up with the software listed below:

 

  • Windows 7
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome
  • Firfox
  • Google Earth
  • Roxio CD/DVD Creator
  • Apple Quick Time
  • RealPlayer
  • Java
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Shockwave Player
  • Adobe Air
  • CyberLink Power DVD
  • Microsoft Silver Light
  • JAWS
  • Magic (text magnifier)

For most software and plug-ins, you can view the version by going to Help in that program’s menu and choosing About. You may not install additional software or change software or hardware configurations, but you can use personal flash drives, CDs and DVDs. For adaptive equipment, see the Assistive Technology section.

Printing

Black and white printing is available from all public computers. We do not offer color printing at this time. The cost for printing is $.20 per side. After sending a job to print, pay for and collect it at the checkout desk. Printing is not available using the Library's wireless connection (e.g., your laptop or phone). To print an item on a personal device, email it to yourself or save it to a flash drive and then access it on a public computer to print it.

Copying

All Library locations have black and white copy machines. Copies are $.20 per side. Most machines accept bills and will provide change.

Scanning

Faulk Central Library has two flatbed scanners. Documents or photos can be scanned and saved as image files or PDFs. Scanning is free, though if you want to print what you scan, printing fees apply. The size of the scanning bed is 8.5 x 11.625”.

Filtering

Web filter software is installed on most of the workstations. 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. An unfiltered workstation is available for adults 18 years or older at all Library locations except the St. John Branch. To use an unfiltered workstation, customers must be prepared to show a photo ID that includes their birth date. For more information, visit Filtering at the Austin Public Library and the Austin Public Library Privacy Policy.

Assistive Technology

We have a variety of assistive technology available to use within the Library. To use adaptive software and equipment, you must register as an adaptive user with Library staff (a one-time process). Please note that Library staff is not able to offer training for assistive technology.

All public computers have JAWS and NVDA screen reading software as well as the screen magnifier MAGic. A large-type MAGic keyboard and BIGtrack Trackball (to use instead of a mouse) are available upon request at all locations.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) text capture and audio readout equipment is available at:

  • Austin History Center: Kurzweil Reading Edge
  • Faulk Central, 3 devices: OpenBook 9.0 software with a PEARL document camera; Kurzweil 1000 software with a flatbed scanner; and a Kurzweil Reading Edge

Tabletop magnifying equipment is available at:

  • Faulk Central: Magnisight Explorer with JVC monitor CCTV
  • Pleasant Hill: Optelec Clearview 300
  • Yarborough, 2 devices: Telesensory Aladdin Genie Magnifier Reader and Optelec Clearview 300

Laptop Checkout

Adults may check out laptops at the Ruiz Branch and Carver Branch for use within the building. Laptops check out for two hours with a $20.00 per hour overdue fee if they are returned late.

To use a laptop:

  1. You must have had an active Library Card for at least 2 months and be in good standing.
  2. You must show a current, acceptable photo ID that matches the photo ID associated with your Library Card.
  3. First time users must read and sign Laptop User Agreement form.

Free Classes

The Library provides a variety of free computer classes and drop-in computer help labs , including regular one-on-one technology assistance at the Willie Mae Kirk Branch and a Computer and Job Search Lab at the Carver Branch. For classes, see the full schedule on the Events Calendar. Click the name of the class to see the class description. Classes do not require advanced registration unless otherwise noted in the description. If you have questions, please call us at 512-974-7400, Option 1.

See the Computer Training Information Guide for more Computer Lab times and locations, and to learn about other agencies that provide classes and tutoring.

Other Free Internet Access Locations