WiFi at Grand Rapids Public Library

Having written yesterday about the sense of community in some coffee shops I should note that Grand Rapids Public Library (Main Branch) is a place where that manifests in a quite different way. There is a sense of community about the place and between the staff and a number of other people; it’s clear that there is a fair number of regulars.

The wireless signal is pretty good in the central parts of the building, including the cafe on the second floor. dslreports.com claim there’s a speed of only 67kps down/55kpbs up, but it feels a good bit faster than that, and is certainly usable for general browsing or some simple FTP/SSH work, if not for heavy amounts of remote logins or downloads.

And of course there’s the plentiful supply of books, including a small selection of used books for sale at great prices (I just found a JSP book that’s normally $50 for only 50c!) and some delightfully cheesy LPs available for purchase.

UPDATE: After I finished writing this entry the connection got considerably slower, to the point of feeling sluggish. With such a large building it’s difficult to tell how many users there are in the building, but I get the impression the library should consider upgrading its connection.


  1. I have never, ever, ever been able to connect to the wireless network in the library, try as I might. I’m not sure what the problem is, as I pop onto the network just fine everywhere else. Even after I enter the WEP key (or whatever it is), it shows my little taskbar indicator as being connected, but I can’t get internet explorer to open properly. Any ideas? Because I love that library, just love it, and I would like to patronize it more than I do.

  2. I’m guessing you use a windows laptop, kate? I’ve not tried it using windows myself, but I know I’ve seen others down there running windows and online.

    I’d be happy to go down there with you some time and see if I can work it out? If it’s tricky it’d be good to get more details on to grwifi.

  3. Are you using the ones that are in the Cafeteria, Kate? There are connections downstairs that are not available. The Cafeteria does not have WEP passwords.
    (I use Windows 2000, Dlink)

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