Oak Park Public Library and Park District of Oak Park team up to offer free WiFi in Scoville Park

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By Community Editor

Courtesy Jodi Kolo

Oak Park Public Library and the Park District of Oak Park have teamed to bring the community free outdoor WiFi, now accessible from anywhere within Oak Park's signature Scoville Park at Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue by connecting to the Service Set Identifier (SSID) "scovillepark."

"We are thrilled that by partnering with the Park District of Oak Park, our Main Library neighbor, the entire community benefits," said Oak Park Public Library Executive Director David Seleb. "This was a perfect fit with the library's mission to enhance the quality of life in our diverse community by providing the resources and services for lifelong learning and enjoyment, the space and opportunities to gather and connect, and by fostering a love of reading."

"This collaboration brings much desired technology to our residents," said Park District Executive Director Jan Arnold. "It was a pleasure working with the library on this project and I look forward to more partnership opportunities such as this in the future."

How does the park's WiFi work?

The new wireless system provides public access through seven access points (APs) for direct connection to the Internet from anywhere in Scoville Park. Two of those APs are installed just outside the Main Library, connected to the library network. Five additional park APs using wireless mesh technology are connect to three Main Library roof-mounted APs for only backhaul communications. The library will continue to monitor the system as more users log on.

The idea was born in 2012, as library and park district leadership discussed plans for the newly renovated park to reopen this summer. In May, installation of new equipment was completed and reconfiguration of the library firewall and switches to support expanded networks.

"Since the new park system has its own SSID of "scovillepark," it is isolated from the Main Library's WiFi," said Curt Stacey, Information Technology Manager at the library. "Both systems are designed to handle hundreds of simultaneous users."

The Main Library's SSID of "opplair" remains easily accessible from inside the three-story building at 834 Lake Street to anyone with a wireless device.

This accomplishment is one of several the library has been focusing on related to its longer-term strategic goal of digital inclusion. This term is often used to describe the processes ensuring all individuals have access to, and the skills to use the Internet and computers, to participate in and benefit from the world's growing knowledge and information society accessible online.

Founded in 1902, Oak Park Public Library's mission is to enhance the quality of life in our diverse community by providing the resources and services for lifelong learning and enjoyment, the space and opportunities to gather and connect, and by fostering a love of reading. The 5-Star Library serves more than 50,000 residents through three building locations, offering fiction and nonfiction titles, audiobooks, ereaders, movies, music, video games, magazines, newspapers, and local history information. Through oppl.org and a custom app, the library provides a 24-hour librarian reference service, ebooks, digital movies and music, online subscriptions, continuing education courses, digital archives and more. The Main Library also is known for its impressive collection of permanent artwork, including pieces by local artists. For more information, visit oppl.org or call 708.383.8200.

The Park District of Oak Park, created in 1912, serves the recreational needs of the 53,000 residents of Oak Park, providing over 3,000 recreation programs and special events annually. Overseen by a Board of five elected officials, the District owns an Administrative Center, two outdoor pools, an indoor ice rink, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion, Pleasant Home, a gymnastics center, seven recreation centers plus 13 parks totaling 80 acres of parkland. In partnership with the community, the Park District enriches lives by providing meaningful experiences through programs, parks and facilities.

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