For Thing #3, I tried out the Wi-Fi Finder app. While I have wi-fi throughout the building at work, this app could be incredibly useful when using the iPad anywhere off campus. The app brought up a lot of free and paid wi-fi locations around me. Despite being in the building, the library was listed as number 2 on the list. On the map, free wi-fi is marked with a green arrow and paid or restricted wi-fi is marked with a blue arrow.
You can filter the results to see just free or just paid wi-fi. You can also filter by location type or provider. So if you want a cafe, library, store, you can see only locations that match that type. Trying to think like a visitor, I narrowed the list down to libraries. The map got a lot clearer with just two locations: Minneapolis Central (Hennepin County Library) and the University of Minnesota Libraries.
Other features in Wi-Fi Finder included an offline database you can download to use when you have no connection. You can also save locations for future use.