BPL outdoor Wi-Fi zone pop-ups
Boston Public Libraries (BPL) Outdoor Wi-Fi Zones provide free, outdoor Wi-Fi 24 hours a day at 14 locations. These pop-ups further our investment in digital equity. We want to make it easier to use and enjoy BPL’s critical free resources, including Wi-Fi, Chromebook rentals, computer assistance, and more. These pop-ups also provide much-needed shade and cooling areas to combat urban heat.
In summer 2021, the East Boston, Egleston Square, Codman Square, Brighton, Mattapan, and Grove Hall branches received additional seating, shade, lighting and cooling facilities. This was thanks to a collaboration with the Environment Department's Health Places Initiative. In November 2021, the Outdoor Wi-Fi Zone program received an AARP Community Challenge Grant to extend the program through spring 2022. We also added additional winter workstations at the Roxbury and Hyde Park branches.
Visit a Wi-Fi Pop-Up Location
Borrow a BPL device
Boston Public Libraries play a critical role in bridging the digital equity divide. In addition to outdoor Wi-Fi access, Bostonians can borrow devices and hotspots to use the internet at home.
Borrow a Hotspot
Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots are available for free at any BPL location. Users can borrow them for up to 21 days. Hotspots come with unlimited data and work anywhere in the United States. Learn more about Borrowing a Hotspot.
Borrow a Chromebook
In addition to public computers, every library branch except BPL Central has laptops available to use for up to two hours at the library. All BPL locations have free Wi-Fi inside the library. Learn more about laptop rentals.
To get work done at home, you can borrow a Connectivity Kit. The kit includes both a Chromebook laptop and a Wi-Fi hotspot! Kits contain everything you need to connect to the internet, including a laptop case, mouse, and all charging cables. Learn more about borrowing a Connectivity Kit.
Why we're doing this
SUPPORTING CLIMATE READINESS
There were 22 days over 90 degrees in 2015. By 2030, we could see up to 40 days over 90 degrees. Building more shaded public areas ensures people can stay safe and cool on hotter days. With the Environment Department's Healthy Places initiative, we're exploring how to deploy low-cost structures that improve heat resilience and protect communities from the impacts of climate change.
Investing in Digital Equity
In Boston and across the United States, many families lack reliable Internet access. This creates a digital divide that reinforces inequality. According to a recent Pew Study, more than 40 percent of low-income Americans making less than $30,000 lack access to broadband Internet. Outdoor Wi-Fi at Boston Public Libraries will help fill this critical gap more reliably for residents across the City.
In addition to supporting the needs of residents who learn and work remotely, the BPL recognizes that its spaces function as essential community resource hubs. They provide access to a range of services and amenities to support learning, wellness, and social connections. Post-pandemic, creating joyful shared public spaces to gather and rebuild is more important than ever.