in Southampton Village is always a wireless hotspot, and Monday afternoon it became a hot spot in another sense — very popular and hopping.
With many homes in Southampton still without power following Tropical Storm Irene, and others with power yet no Internet access, the library filled with patrons in search of a working WiFi signal.
Dan Rattiner of sat on a bench outside, where the library's signal reaches, and got some work done on a laptop.
Husband and wife Susan Shaw and Jack Freeman of Queens and Majors Path in Southampton struggled at the library to find cell and WiFi service.
“We stayed for Irene in the city and didn’t have any damage so we came out here, didn’t have any damage, except we’re living in the 19th century,” Freeman said.
“When we came in, all the lights were out on the highway,” Shaw added.
While they have electricity on Majors Path, they need to get on the Internet to communicate with clients and employees, Freeman said. Freeman is a project manager for building projects for nonprofits, and Shaw is a graphic designer, and even at their “vacation” home they have to work, he said.
Elizabeth Main, the owner of the on Hill Street, was at the library in search of Internet because her reservations are managed online. She had trouble staying connected, as many laptops battled for limited signal.
A library staffer said Rogers' WiFi is limited to serving about 25 patrons at a time. Any more, and the bandwidth would be spread too thin to work for anyone, he said.
Patrons could also sign on to the library’s desktops — and they did. Nearly every computer upstairs and downstairs was taken Monday afternoon.