Libraries could soon be lending laptops so visitors can browse the internet, as well as the bookshelves.
Browse the internet as you browse for books
A project is under way to provide free wireless internet access to rural libraries.
If successful it could be extended to all libraries in England, reports the E-Government Bulletin newsletter.
Some of the libraries involved in the scheme will lend out laptops so visitors can connect to high speed internet services.
In others, users will have to provide their own equipment.
Initially £60,000 will be given to 10 rural libraries by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to install fixed wireless equipment in their buildings.
The popularity of the service and the impact on library staff will be examined.
The trial is focusing on rural libraries because of the lack of broadband availability in remote areas.
"It is also a way for libraries to increase the contribution they make to the community," project co-ordinator David Potts told E-Government Bulletin.
Libraries are seen by government as one of the key public places to make internet services available to those that do not have connectivity at home.
Wi-fi connections in cafes and bars are becoming increasingly popular with around
2,500 hotspots in public places around the UK.
"Libraries must to able to do the same," said Mr Potts.
The pilot sites include libraries in North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Devon and Cornwall.