Hotspots for studying, after the library closes

In all levels of school now, from elementary through college, computers are an increasingly important part of the curriculum. Notes, tests, projects, homework, research, bonus assignments, extra credit problems, and many more aspects of school work are now often times used via the internet. Even in high school, it’s getting so that having an internet connection is a mandatory part of going to school,and makes completing your coursework almost impossible if you don’t have it.

Many coffee shops now offer free wifi, to encourage students patronage, photo by Kuba Bożanowski

Many coffee shops now offer free wifi, to encourage students patronage, photo by Kuba Bożanowski

And that’s just in high school. In college there is no other way; having a laptop of desk top computer and an internet connection is a requirement for entry into college.

And it goes without saying that with distance learning, the internet connection is the lifeline to school. The classes do not exist at all without that connection.

Without an internet connection or wifi at home, most people turn to the local library for on line access. There are over fifteen thousand libraries in the Unites States with wifi or internet accessible computers for public use. They are always free to use, and libraries tend to encourage people to loiter around all day reading and sitting. It’s the ideal spot to study, even if you don’t need to use the computer.

But what happens if you have no local library? Or your library has no free computer? Or even if you have those things, the library isn’t open all the time – what do you do for computer access after it closes?

Here are a few ideas of where a student can go to get the on line access he or she needs.

Fast Food Restaurants McDonalds has established itself as they wifi hotspot for many parts of the counter. There are over twelve thousand McDonalds locations with free wifi, almost as many as the American public library system. And McDonalds keeps longer hours than the library, as well, opening earlier and closing much, much later (some places stay open until midnight)

Other fast food chains are following suit. Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, Wendys, and Burger King are all offering free wifi in more and more of their establishments. This is a trend that is likely to keep growing. Of course, you can’t just treat the place like a library, but food at these places tends to be relatively cheap, and soda refills are free.

Sit Down Restaurants – There are many casual dining eateries offering internet access hotspots now. Open all night chains like Denny’s and Perkins are ho strangers to students chugging coffee and studying all night long. They are starting to make it easier, with more and more locations making it possible for students to use a dinner table as the hub for their course load.

Coffee Shops – Starbucks was one of the trend setters, and currently has over seven thousand locations with free wifi. The trend has caught on, and now most up scale or franchise coffee spots are equipped to give their customers computer access. And coffee shops, like libraries, encourage patrons to hang around for extended periods of time.

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