Kalkaska County Library Helping Spread Free Wi-Fi throughout Downtown Kalkaska

Wireless internet access is now a necessity for many people.

When the pandemic hit and restrictions caused the Kalkaska library to close its doors, they noticed how much people used the library not just for books but internet access.

“We had patrons who were panicking. We had patrons giving us sheaves of financial documents with their Social Security numbers, for instance, and trusting us to conduct their business for them during the pandemic,” said John Roberts, Director, Kalkaska County Library.

The Kalkaska County Library hopes that the situation never happens again. Thanks to a large antenna on the front of their building, there’s a good chance it won’t.

“It brought us into the correct century. And maybe a little beyond that,” said Cash Cook, Executive Director, Kalkaska Downtown Development Authority.

The antenna is a high-speed fiber-optic connection allowing wireless internet access in the library’s parking lot and down to the Railroad Square.

“If you want to work downtown, especially for people who want to work remotely or study, it just makes life much more convenient,” said Roberts.

Food trucks that park in railroad square and vendors at the farmers market will also be able to connect.

“A lot of vendors do the square reader so they can swipe credit cards on their phone, so sometimes if there’s no Wi-Fi, it takes a while for the transaction to go through,” said Renee Penny, Host of Kalkaska Farmer’s Market. “It’s a great resource rather than seeing cars parked outside the library after hours. There’s the beautiful green space behind us that individuals can spread out and use it as a park and be connected to WI Wi-Fi.”

Access to Wi-Fi will also make it possible for large events at Railroad Square.

“There are several meetings that we couldn’t accommodate because we didn’t have any Wi-Fi access up to that point,” said Cook.

“If you think about large events, this technology can handle around 4,000 people using the Internet at once. It’s a vast improvement,” said Roberts.

Categories: Michigan This Morning