Internet and Computer Access
Reserve a Computer
Click here to reserve a computer. You'll need your library card number and your pin.
- How many computers do you have available for the public to use?
- Do you have time limits for computer use?
- May I reserve a specific computer?
- What if I'm late for my reservation?
- May I print from the computers?
- Do you have color printing?
- How can I save my work?
- May I check my email?
- Do you offer help or training with specific software?
- What are my rights as a computer user?
We offer over 100 computers for internet access throughout all our libraries, but the number varies at each library.
Yes. Time limits are per person per day, and vary by location. You may only use your own card to log on.
The libraries using MyPC software have agreed to an overall limit of 120 minutes per day. You may visit multiple libraries in one day, but may only use 2 hours total per day on machines with the Library Online signup system.
Your reservation will be held for ten minutes. If you do not log in to your computer within ten minutes of your reservation time, you will lose your reservation and those ten minutes will be deducted from your total allotted computer time for the day.
You can have 4 'no shows' in 14 days with no penalty, other than the loss of grace period minutes. If you actually use a computer after 2 no shows, you’ll get a warning message about the fact that you have no shows accumulating. If you do have 5 no shows in 14 days, you won’t be able to use the computer until you are down to 4 or less in a 14 day period.
At libraries where we allow customers to combine two 1 hour sessions into a solid two hour session, a 'no show' for a two hour session counts as 2 no shows. If you have a reservation, the time allotted to you that day starts when your reservation starts. So, if you have a 1 pm-1:30 pm reservation, but don't get logged in until 1:08 pm, it's as if you used those 8 minutes. Your session will be 22 minutes long.
Yes. All libraries offer access to a black-and-white photocopier and a black-and-white laser printer. Black-and-white photocopies or printed pages are $.10 per page, even if you bring your own paper.
You can print in color at the Alicia Ashman Library, Central Library, Goodman South Madison Library, Hawthorne Library, Meadowridge Library, and Sequoya Library. There is a $.50 per page charge, even if you bring your own paper.
You may save to or print from a floppy disk or USB flash drive on all public Internet computers. Not every computer has a CD drive, and saving to a CD requires special steps.
Our librarians can often provide brief assistance with common programs or basic Internet functions. We also offer a wide range of books, eBooks, online help, and tutorials. Some libraries offer one-on-one instruction tailored to your needs. See location-specific information to find out more.
You have the right to unmonitored use, providing you comply with the library's Guidelines for Use of Computers and Computer Networks Policy and Behavior Policy. Electronic sign up records are kept for ten days before discarding. For more information about customer privacy, see our information sheet on the USA Patriot Act and Madison Public Library Records.
- How do I access the wireless network?
- I have the right software and hardware and the wireless network isn't coming up. I clicked on my wireless icon, but nothing's happening. What now?
- I just can't make my machine work on your network. Is there anywhere else I can go?
- My battery is running low-where can I plug in?
- Do you have headphones I can use?
- How secure is the network?
- The network connection went down and my document was lost. What can I do?
- Can I print from my laptop to the library's printer?
- What are my rights as a computer user?
All locations provide free access to an unsecured wireless network. The network is only available during open hours. Some locations require a security code.
I have the right software and hardware and the wireless network isn't coming up. I clicked on my wireless icon, but nothing's happening. What now?
Wait at least five minutes for your machine to finish booting up. If there is still no sign of our network, try moving closer to the wireless access point. Ask the librarian where it is, if necessary. Other things to check:
- If you have a wireless on/off toggle key (usually one of the function keys), make sure it is on.
- Make sure your wireless card is inserted.
- Check that the network settings for your card are set to obtain an IP address automatically.
- Try to stop/start the card or reboot your computer.
Other wireless hotspots in Madison and Wisconsin can be found on the Wi-Fi FreeSpot Directory or find out about coverage in the downtown area at MADCity Broadband (there's a fee). UW-Madison also offers wireless access to UW-Madison students, faculty, staff and guests.
Please charge your battery before coming to the library, as we can't guarantee there will be an outlet available for you. Check with your location for more information.
We only have headphones for use with Madison Public Library's own machines. If you plan to listen to audio on your device, you must use your own headphones.
People with the right software using their own laptop in the library may be able to capture your keystrokes. Please be aware of this, and consider whether you want to use your laptop for critical personal information. Refer to your personal computer's documentation for information about taking protective measures when using an unsecured wireless network.
There may be times when the network goes down unexpectedly. We suggest saving your work often to prevent the loss of your work. The library assumes no responsibility for your equipment, settings, data, or files.
We are currently unable to offer wireless printing.
You have the right to unmonitored use, providing you comply with the library's Internet Use Policy and Behavior Policy. Electronic sign up records are kept for ten days before discarding. For more information about customer privacy, see our information sheet on the USA Patriot Act and Madison Public Library Records.