The King County Library System (KCLS) recently received a federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant from the Washington State Library (WSL) to expand digital inclusion in King County, including in Burien and Boulevard Park.

KCLS used the funding to help install external Wi-Fi Access Points (AP) at 44 library locations, including in Burien and Boulevard Park. The external APs give King County residents access to the internet outside libraries while buildings remain closed to the public.

Residents do not need a library card or Wi-Fi password to access the free “kcls.org wireless” network.

The WSL received the funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support libraries in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, Congress provided the federal agency a total of $50 million in the CARES Act to distribute to states and territories.

Since closing libraries to in-building use in March, following orders by Governor Jay Inslee to help slow the spread of COVID-19, KCLS staff expanded access to digital collections and resources, and transitioned programming and services to online platforms. The mandated closures have impacted those who rely on KCLS’ in-building services, and who may have limited internet access needed for distance learning, remote work and other essential services.

KCLS has maintained access to its standard public Wi-Fi signal throughout the pandemic. In some cases, the signal extends outside library buildings and into parking lots, but user experience varies from site to site. The new APs boost Wi-Fi signals and give residents more reliable internet access outside library buildings.

“KCLS continues to find innovative ways to adapt in-building services during this time,” stated KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “We are pleased to offer external Wi-Fi at many more locations throughout the region, and we hope the new service helps connect residents to the digital resources they need.”

Residents do not need a library card or Wi-Fi password to access the free “kcls.org wireless” network. For assistance connecting to Wi-Fi, contact Ask KCLS at kcls.org/ask or call (425) 462-9600 or (800) 462-9600.

The external Wi-Fi hotspots have been installed at the following KCLS libraries:

  1. Algona-Pacific Library
  2. Auburn Library
  3. Bellevue Library
  4. Black Diamond Library
  5. Bothell Library
  6. Boulevard Park Library
  7. Burien Library
  8. Carnation Library
  9. Covington Library
  10. Des Moines Library
  11. Duvall Library
  12. Enumclaw Library
  13. Fairwood Library
  14. Fall City Library
  15. Federal Way 320th Library
  16. Federal Way Library
  17. Greenbridge Library
  18. Issaquah Library
  19. Kenmore Library
  20. Kent Library
  21. Kent Panther Lake Library
  22. Kingsgate Library
  23. Kirkland Library
  24. Lake Hills Library
  25. Maple Valley Library
  26. Mercer Island Library
  27. Muckleshoot Library
  28. Newcastle Library
  29. Newport Way Library
  30. North Bend Library
  31. Redmond Library
  32. Renton Highlands Library
  33. Renton Library
  34. Richmond Beach Library
  35. Sammamish Library
  36. Shoreline Library
  37. Skyway Library
  38. Snoqualmie Library
  39. Tukwila Library
  40. Valley View Library
  41. Vashon Library
  42. White Center Library
  43. Woodinville Library
  44. Woodmont Library

The Wi-Fi hotspots are one of many contactless Curbside to Go services available to King County residents during building closures, including curbside pickup and printing, outdoor lockers and more. Find services near you at kcls.org/contactless.