Computer Use and Technology Policy

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Laptop Lending and Computer Instruction

Every Boston Public Library location, except the Central Branch, has laptops available for library card holders to borrow for up to 2 hours of in-library use.

Please read the Laptop Lending borrowing guidelines and contract (PDF) for more information:

A city-wide instruction initiative, in collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority and the Boston Centers for Youth and Family, is offered at every library branch and at other sites around the city. Computer instruction labs are located at the Central Library at Copley Square. Instruction at all other locations is on library laptops (also available for in-library use).

See more information about computer classes and technology instruction at the Boston Public Library.


The BPL is a free wireless hotspot. Patrons using wireless devices may access the Library's Internet service at all locations.

Laptops need the following to connect to the wireless network:

  • A wireless network interface card, 802.11b or later
  • A charged battery. Specially designated electrical outlets are available at some, but not all, BPL locations
  • Compatible headphones if you plan to listen to music or a video

Please note the library cannot assist you with your device, wireless card, or configuration. The library cannot accept the liability of handling your equipment.

Connecting to the Wireless Network

Step 1 — Use your wireless connection utility to connect to the wireless network named BostonPublicLibrary.

Step 2 — Open your web browser and try to browse any website. You will be redirected to the login page. You will then be asked to accept the library's Internet Policy and Guidelines, opens a new window. Once you have done this, the Library's home page will come up and you are ready to use our wireless system.

Step 3 — If you are still unable to connect to the wireless network:

  • Ensure that your wireless network card is set to DHCP or automatic and does not have a static or manual IP address.
  • Smartphones, tablets, E-readers need to open a browser to logon to WiFi before attempting to use any other app.
  • On smartphones and LTE tablets: personal hotspot or tethering MUST BE DISABLED.

Instructions for specific operating systems are below:

  • Public Computers

    In addition to the laptops available in every branch, the Boston Public Library offers desktop computers that you may use to reach Internet-accessible resources.

    Public computer use:

      • In our branch locations and many Central Library departments you must sign up with the Pharos Computer Reservation System before using an Internet computer; a library or visitor's card is necessary for some computer use.
      • If you are doing subject-specific research in some Central Library research departments, you must sign in with Library staff before using an Internet computer; a library or visitor's card is necessary for computer use.
      • You may print documents at specified printing stations. You must have a Pay4Print account which can be obtained at a red kiosk.
      • Users are required to adhere to any posted use or time limitations.


Boston Public Library offers pay-for-print services from its desktop public computers. Wireless printing is now available. Please ask a staff member for more information.

To print documents at the library:

      • Before beginning, purchase a Pay4Print account at the red kiosk at any BPL location, using your library card or a temporary receipt that is produced by the kiosk. You must deposit at least $1 per transaction on your library card or on your pay4print account. Printing costs $0.15 per page and scanning costs $0.05. Add money to your Pay4Print to print out the number of pages you need.
      • Sign on to a public computer using your library card number and PIN. Or a guest pass.
      • Create/Open the document or find the web page you want to print.
      • Use Print Preview to choose the pages you want to print, to select the number of copies you need, or to change to color printing. Click Print to send the file to the printers.
      • When you are ready to print, go to the Print Station and log in with your library card number or Pay4Print account number and PIN. Click on Print icon, then click on the file(s) you want to print. Use Shift+Click to select multiple files.
      • Insert your Print Card into the reader, then select Print on the screen. Click on the next file and click Print. Repeat until all files are printed.
      • Select Log Off. Return to the computer you were using and continue working, or click on Log Off to finish your session.
      • If you need additional help, please read our printing instructions for printing from library computers, those for printing from personal devices, or speak to a staff member.
      • Users are required to adhere to any posted use or time limitations.
      • Unprinted documents are saved in the queue until the end of the day.


Boston Public Library does not monitor Internet use, has no control over the information accessed through the Internet, and cannot be held responsible for its content. The Internet may contain material of a controversial nature. Boston Public Library complies with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act which requires the use of filtering software for adults, teens and children. Filtering software may not block all material users might find offensive. Parents may give their children approval to use unfiltered computers for bona fide research or other lawful purposes. Parents are encouraged to supervise their children’s Internet sessions.

Boston Public Library Internet Policy

Children's Internet Protection Act Compliance

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