Archive for Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Library online as city’s first hot spot

September 28, 2005

Bring your laptop and prepare to surf at the Tonganoxie Public Library.

Last Thursday, the library became Sunflower Broadband's newest hot spot. The library, which is at Third and Bury, now has wireless, high-speed Internet access. Residents can use their wireless-capable laptops at the library and surf the Internet.

"We think it's good for business people, students, visitors to town who bring their laptop and need a place to connect," library director Sharon Moreland said.

Moreland inquired about the library becoming a "hot spot" after she attended the Northeast Kansas Library System Technology Day last month in Topeka.

"We were discussing social technologies and it was mentioned that the Eudora and Lawrence libraries were hot spots," Moreland said.

The next day, Moreland contacted Sunflower Broadband about making the library Tonganoxie's first hot spot.

The library's only cost for the hot spot was for router configuration, which cost $187.

"It allows more public access computers at no cost to the taxpayers," Moreland said.

Sunflower donation

Ashley Seeger, who works in customer support at Sunflower Broadband, said the company provides the hot spots to local libraries as a community service. Internet service and equipment is donated to the libraries, Seeger said.

At the Lawrence and Eudora libraries, Seeger said usage has been increasing

"We actually monitor the usage from here in the office as far as how many people connect," Seeger said. "We're getting some good numbers from the Lawrence library and the Eudora library as well and we hope for the same thing from the Tonganoxie library."

When residents come to the Tonganoxie library to use the wireless Internet, they will need to follow a few steps, Moreland said.

First, they should find "someplace comfortable to work," Moreland said. A library worker then will give the Internet user a sheet that explains Sunflower Broadband is providing the wireless service, along with phone numbers to use for technical support.

Patrons then must accept the library's Internet-use policy.

Once that's taken care of, the laptop user is free to surf the net.

Moreland also noted that if Internet users have trouble

configuring their laptops, library staff will not assist in configuration. Users instead may call Sunflower Broadband for technical support.

Moreland said all questions would be directed to Sunflower Broadband for liability reasons.

"We don't want to be responsible for damaging someone else's property," Moreland said.

In addition, wireless users will operate on a separate network from the library's network and will not be connected.

"Our information is secure and our network is secure," Moreland said. "Patron information is secure."

Although no one visited the library Friday to utilize the hot spot in just its second day of operation, Moreland hopes it will be a popular place for laptop users. As she said Friday, she's "still trying to get the word out" about the library's new service.

"I hope it will get people in the door who have not been in the library since they were kids," Moreland said.

Library to offer CD collection

With help from the Friends of the Library, Tonganoxie will be launching a music CD collection.

"It's something that most libraries have, but we don't," Moreland said.

The library will start purchasing CDs that patrons can check out.

The CD collection is one of several things lined up at the library in the coming months. The library has a new copier that has new color copier and scanning capabilities.

And, the library soon will be offering computer classes. Tonganoxie High School student Jeff DeMaranville will help teach the class, Moreland said.

Other events include scary movie night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 8. The library will be showing "The Nightmare Before Christmas." And three weeks later, The Friends of the Library will be sponsoring a Halloween party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 29.

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