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Internet and Computer Access

Reserve a Computer

To reserve a computer, please call our Library Telephone Service, 608-315-5151. Library staff will then schedule a reservation for you. Social distancing guidelines may affect availability.

Public Internet Stations

How many computers do you have available for the public to use?

We offer over 100 computers for internet access throughout all our libraries, but the number varies at each library. Current availability may be limited in order to maintain social distancing.

Do you have time limits for computer use?

Yes. Time limits are 1 hour (60 minutes) per person per day at all Madison Public Library locations offering computer access. 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.

May I reserve a specific computer?

You may reserve a computer by calling our Library Telephone Service, 608-315-5151, for today, tomorrow, or the next day. You may choose a specific computer, or the first available computer. Social distancing guidelines may affect availability.

What if I'm late for my reservation?

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.

If you have a reservation, the time allotted to you that day starts when your reservation starts. So, if you have a 1pm - 2pm reservation, but don't get logged in until 1:08 pm, it's as if you used those 8 minutes. Your session will be 52 minutes long.

May I print from the computers?

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.

*UPDATE* During this phase of reopening, you can print up to 25 black-and-white pages for free!

Do you have color printing?

You can print in color at all Madison Public Library locations. There is a $.50 per page charge, even if you bring your own paper.

*UPDATE* During this phase of reopening, you can print up to 10 color pages for free!

How do I save my work?

You may save to or print from a USB flash drive on all public Internet computers. You can also save to an online cloud storage platform such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft's OneDrive, Apple's iCloud, and many others. Please note that nothing gets saved permanently to the computer as it erases all documents each time it restarts.

May I check my email?

Yes, as long as you have a web-based email account. The most common free providers are Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail.

Do you offer help or training with specific software?

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. However, while following social distancing guidelines during this phase of reopening, assistance our librarians can offer is limited to whatever we do from 6 feet away.

What are my rights as computer user?

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.

Wireless Access

We are only offering appointments for patrons to use Library computers at this time. Library buildings are not currently open for patrons to bring in and use their own devices on the wireless network. We are working out the logistics of how to offer this service safely.

Library Computers & COVID-19 Safety


All staff working the service receive training and the personal protective equipment necessary to keep themselves, other staff, and the public safe. All employees wear face coverings and practice social distancing according to City of Madison policy.

There is a 30-minute gap between computer appointments where staff sanitize public computer stations.


All of the building doors remain locked. Staff will admit patrons with computer appointments for their appointed time slot.

Patrons with computer appointments are allowed in the computer area, restrooms, and the stanchioned/taped walkways leading between these areas during their time slot.

Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings. Face masks are available for those that don't have their own.

Bubblers / drinking fountains are not available. Bottles of water are available by request.