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. More information is below or on our Computer related FAQs.
Connection to Wireless Internet
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:
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.
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.
All Library locations have black and white copy machines. Copies are $.20 per side. Most machines accept bills and will provide change.
Scanning to a USB or via email is available at all Library locations using the copy machines. There is no charge for scanning.
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
Tabletop magnifying equipment is available at:
- Pleasant Hill: Optelec Clearview 300
- Yarborough, 2 devices: Telesensory Aladdin Genie Magnifier Reader and Optelec Clearview 300
Laptop and Electronic Device Checkout
To use a laptop:
- You must have had an active Library Card for at least 2 months and be in good standing.
- You must show a current, acceptable photo ID that matches the photo ID associated with your Library Card.
- First time users must read and sign Laptop User Agreement form.
At the Milwood Branch, you can check out a laptop, Chromebook, Macbook or iPad from a kiosk. At the Central Library, you can check out a laptop, Chromebook, Macbook, iPad or AfterSchool Edge from a kiosk. You must have a Library Card in good standing, and accept the onscreen agreement form. Devices from the kiosk are also for use within the building and check out for two hours.
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
- Austin Free-Net Public Access Locations: The Austin Free-Net DeWitty Center Labs are located at 2209 Rosewood Avenue on bus route 2. See all locations with hours of operation for Free-Net locations. Most of the locations offer access for special populations only. Please contact the location before visiting.
- The University of Texas Libraries allow guest access to computers. Users must present a valid government-issued photo ID to request temporary access. Please see their Computer and Network Use Policy for details.
Carver Computer and Job Search Center
The Carver Computer and Job Search Center assists job seekers in the community by providing one-on-one access to technology and training. Job seekers can take advantage of instruction provided by Library staff as well as classes taught by staff and community volunteers.