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Internet and Computer Access

Library Computers

Library computers are available on a first come, first served basis at all nine locations during their service hours, including limited days (Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday) at Monroe Street Library.

Printing costs are $0.10 per page for black & white, and $0.50 per page for color.

Advance reservations may be made by calling your preferred library location during their service hours.

Participating library locations have a room or area that is equipped with a computer that can only be reserved for patrons with young children. Please call your preferred library location for availability.

See below for guidelines related to Library Computers & COVID-19 Safety.

Public Internet Stations FAQ

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

Due to COVID-19, current availability is limited in order to maintain social distancing. We normally offer over 100 computers for internet access throughout all our libraries, but the number varies at each library.. 

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. Some locations may offer time-limit extensions, based on the number of computers available at the moment. You may only use your own card to log in. Inquire with staff if you need access and do not have a library card.

May I reserve a specific computer?

You may reserve a computer by calling our Library Telephone Service, 608-266-6300. You may choose a specific computer, or the first available computer. Social distancing guidelines may affect availability of specific computers.

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 10 minutes after your reservation start time, you may lose your reservation..

May I print from the computers?

Yes. All libraries offer access to a black-and-white laser printer. Printed pages are $.10 per page, even if you bring your own paper.

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.

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. Some libraries offer one-on-one instruction tailored to your needs. However, during this phase of reopening, tech assistance or training is limited to what staff can provide from social distancing guidelines of 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. For more information about customer privacy, see our information sheet on the USA Patriot Act and Madison Public Library Records.

Wireless Access

Beginning May 24, patrons may bring in and use their own devices on the library's wireless network. Seating may be limited, or not available at some locations, due to social distancing guidelines.

Library Computers & COVID-19 Safety

Cleaning and Public Health

All staff working library computers receive training and the personal protective equipment necessary to keep themselves, other staff, and the public safe. Employees may wear a face covering according to City of Madison policy and Dane County Public Health Guidelines.

Guidelines for Safe Computer Use

  • Patrons and staff are not required to wear a face mask or covering, though mask-wearing is encouraged. A face mask will be available for those who ask for one upon entering. [See Madison and Dane County Public Health requirements on Masks/ Face Coverings]
  • Hand sanitizer is available.
  • Food is not allowed. Some locations will have a bottle-filling station.
  • Computers may not come with headphones. Patrons are welcome to bring their own, or ask to borrow a pair from library staff.