Monthly Archives: October 2014

Library Visit Notes: Patron Computers & Internet Access


Computers are an integral part of patron use and enjoyment at Kennebunk Free Library.  Internet connection is via two  T-1 phone lines for wired and wireless access (wireless is unsecured).  Though they participate in the Federal e-rate program, the library pays an additional yearly $300 fee to the Maine State Library in order to bypass government-mandated filters.  A Maine State grant allowed for the purchase of six Lenovo computers (4 for adults, 2 for children) that run Windows 7 software.  Patron computers have magnifying screens and voice reading.  KFL uses SAS (Sierra Automated Systems) as their automation backbone.

Walking in the front door and up the stairs at KFL brings you to the Adult Circulation Desk.  To the left is a standing kiosk of 4 computers.  Three offer Internet Express in 1/2 hour increments, the fourth houses the online library catalog (


Adult Kiosk/4 terminals: 3 Internet Express & 1 OPAC

(Lynda Bryan, retired Graves Library Children’s Librarian, verbal permission received )

There are also four sitting Internet stations, grouped at one table adjacent to the standing kiosk that may be used for 1 hour per sitting.


online access stations

(verbal permission of patrons granted for photo for school project only)

The Children’s Library in the basement also has 5 terminals available in 1/2 hour increments for preschoolers through the 6th grade.  One is a colorful child-sized game computer (Friday afternoon Game Club!), 1 holds Minerva and 3 offer Internet access. (Older grades use the adult computers on the main floor or laptops – please see below).


Children’s Area Computer Station

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close-ups of gaming computer & headphones

KFL’s Computer Policy is posted in both the children and adult areas & is available online (  Basic rules apply:

  • Internet use is a privilege; all local, state and federal laws apply.
  • Kennebunk Free Library provides unregulated Internet access; parents are responsible for guiding their child’s use.
  • Patrons must sign in at the children or adult circulation desk, using one’s first name.
  • Computers are available on a first come-first serve basis.  Patrons can reserve one hour time blocks up to 24 hour in advance; no reservation is guaranteed after 10 minutes; patrons arriving late will not receive additional time.
  • Downloading files or programs is allowable via personal disc, CD ROM or flash drive; discs may be purchased at the Main Circulation Desk for $2.
  • Personal headphones may be used at a volume that does not disturb other patrons.


Acceptable Use Policy

(please click image for easier reading)

KFL also offers 4 in-house Levono ThinkPad L512 laptops that may be used in 3-hour increments for patrons 18 years and older. Patrons leave a driver’s license or credit card at the front desk, sign a laptop use agreement, and are responsible for any damages. Data may be temporarily saved to the laptop until the patron saves it to a flashdrive or CD; upon returning, all saved data and settings are permanently erased.  KFL provides a Laptop Lending Policy for all interested patrons (


Levono ThinkPad L512

Still lots to report – check back for Web 2.0, e-books, audio CDs, staff tech support, tech budgets and the odd piece of KFL trivia and technology challenges!


Library Visit Notes: KFL’s Electronic Face – Website, Blog, Facebook & Twitter



In 2014 a library is often first known by its electronic presence.  At Kennebunk Free Library, patrons new and old see this image when a search engine brings them to (please click on image for larger view).  The site is maintained by Janet Cate, the Assistant Director of the library and has been a presence since 1996.  The format is designed by

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.18.44 PM


Mobile-friendly Page Link: A person can search the catalog, check for upcoming events, download audio and e-books through OverDrive, instantly stream a film on Indieflix (easy sign up via RBdigital Gateway link), and pertinent to our technology focus, click on a ‘Mobile-friendly Page’ link, which brings up this screen.  I think of it as a tip-of-the-fingers way to access anything electronic a patron might want. – so simple AND functional!

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 1.09.57 PM

 The Social Media link above takes the user to links for:

These sites post weekly and often daily, keeping their online guests tuned in to new books (choose your format), parenting classes, Portland Bookmobile visits, Story Time, YogaPlay and the like.


The Homepage has specific age-related links for Kids (Marvel and Museum Passes), Teens (Teen Advisory Board and College & Career Planner) and Adults (Ask a Question & Book Lists) where a patron can access programs, books, DVDs, e-books, genealogy help, ILL and age specific help.


Janet Cate says that their active social media presence helped the staff keep patrons up to date this past summer when KFL upgraded to Minerva, a consortium of 60 Maine libraries that share resources.  KFL was able to electronically spread the word that the library would be closed for the changeover (and to ask for volunteers to help catalog)  and explain some of the ins and outs of the new system.  They were then able to provide a link  on their homepage to a Minerva brochure with FAQs at .


This drop-down is extensive and something of which to be proud.  It offers a peak behind the curtains, a way to show how serious a library is about providing patrons with up-to-date useful information.

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By clicking on either Policies or Reports, I can access KFL’s  Long Range Plan 2013-2018  link: ( ).

Page 10 of the 33 page plan emphasizes their technology focus under Priorities, Goals and Objectives / Programming, Goal 3:

Goal 3: Develop creative programming for computer access and use.
Objective 1:
  • Provide opportunities for assistance in word processing and Internet searching to patrons.
Objective 2:
  • Provide specific hours for individual tutorial availability.
ACTION PLAN FOR 2013 – 2018
  • Present four workshops for patrons to learn basic word processing and Internet search skills.
  • Review computing tutorial handouts for accuracy and currency. Post these handouts on the KFL website.
  • Provide specific hours in the schedule devoted to individual tutorials and assistance in computing.
  • Provide workshops on Facebook, Skype, and other social media twice a year.

This action plan says to me that they know their patron demographics and they believe in their mission of enhancing literacy by promoting their resources and offering expert and personal help while they fulfill their vision of serving the diverse needs of the community.


Technology can truly expand the world of both user and staff in a local library; using those technologies on behalf of your patrons is an ongoing challenge.   The Kennebunk Free Library website offers a window into a rich and diverse literary culture for interested users.

KFL welcomes the Portland Bookmobile!


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It was a drizzly morning when the Portland Bookmobile pulled into the parking lot at the Kennebunk Free Library this past Thursday.  Since April 2013, this wonder-van has served as the focal point of Portland Public Library (PPL)’s portable library venture.  This month they are visiting nearby town libraries to show off their wares and sign up new patrons.

For Rusty, it was a chance to see a modern version of one of her childhood loves; for Casey it fell under ‘anything with wheels is heaven’.  The bookmobile stocks approximately 1,700 items of fiction and nonfiction, audiobooks, graphic novels, picture and chapter books and DVDs.  It is wheelchair accessible, has wireless Internet and solar panels.  This traveling collection fulfills part of the outreach mission of the PPL by serving areas of the city without a nearby branch; their routes take them to 20+ locations, including schools, neighborhoods, specialized care centers and events such as this.  They are able to reach patrons and families who may have health challenges, transportation issues or simply no time to make the trip downtown.

The 34-foot van cost approximately $166,000 and was paid for by a combination of library funds, private investment and a $50,000 donation from Key Bank.  The route schedule is posted online ( link accessible at; each visit is 45 minutes.

Steve Weigle, driver and dog lover (“bring her right in, we love dogs!”) is today’s driver of this latest version of the PPL bookmobile.  I asked if more adults than kids used this service.  His reply? No, it was 75% kids, 25% adults – now that’s a job I might love.  He tells me his wife teaches an Archiving class at UMA/ILS, in fact I hope to take her class this winter – small world (personal communication, Oct 16, 2014).

I’ve added my new library tab to my key chain (done right there via their wifi computer connection in 3 minutes) and was reminded yet again that technology is an extraordinary enhancement to the world of libraries.

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Bookmobile brings books, Internet to Portland neighborhoods. (Apr 2, 2013). Received from

Portable Library. (2014). Received from

KFL Monthly Genealogy Group Meetings


KFL Genalogy Group

First Saturday/Month

Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main Street, Kennebunk

Hank’s Room, Lower Level

10 am – 12 pm

free to the public, no reservations needed

Contact: Janet Cate, Assistant Director 207.985.2173

 genealogy poster 2014-2015

Portland Public Library bookmobile!



the new hip Portland Public Library Bookmobile – how can you resist?

Thursday, October 16th

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.


I’m so psyched, I can barely stand it!!!…………..

Out and about on a Sunday morning



Did you all know that Sunday mornings are a GREAT time to go

on a library hunt if you’re a dog?

This is me at the UNE Jack Ketchum Library

today, Sunday, October 5th, 9 am.

That’s my new friend, Kristina Michaud, behind me

at the front desk.  She let me run free

(‘it’s ok, there’s no one here but me at this early hour”)

and check out the computer stations and clinic,

showed me her front desk set-up, and told me to say

this library is TECHed OUT.  Rusty & Kristina suggested that

the library might have been busier a decade ago at 9 am on a Sunday, before the library

and the University offered online library access to all students and wireless access.

Am loving this virtual library dog gig…



almost forgot: Rusty says this link made her swoon, so I guess that means it’s worth a click….

Organizing my thoughts for library interview…


Starting with Professor Blesh’ suggested list of topics to cover, I brainstormed with a library friend and referenced Joseph Matthews’ Technology Planning (2004) for some more ideas.  I divided my questions into different themes – I’m not sure this was entirely necessary, but I was feeling a bit disorganized, so I hoped by grouping my thoughts, it might make my questions more cogent.  I emailed the questions to Janet Cate at KFL prior to our meeting.  Needless to say, once I met with her, the conversation broadened, but I was glad to have a guide to get me started.  I’m having way more fun doing this than I EVER thought!  I’ll post them here for everyone to see.

IT Blog Library Questions for Onsite Visit to Kennebunk Free Library, Kennebunk, Maine

Basics/Description of Library and Technology:

  • Name & physical location of library and its URL?
  • Types of technology available for patron & staff use in the library? (remember the less flashy items too)
  • Types of Internet-based technology services provided to the patron throughout?
  • Personnel – who on the staff manages the technology, including website, how are they trained?
  • Check out behind the scenes and the administrative aspects of library technology not visible to patrons. How does it improve CS for patrons and make life easier for the staff?
  • MINERVA upgrade: new library cards, new tracking, staff and patron adjustment period?
  • May I take photographs?


  • Budget – how much proportionately is spent on technology, databases, CD’s, Video & DVD software? (be aware budgets are often confidential to a degree)
  • Planning for obsolescence and updating equipment
  • Who is responsible for budget/planning?

Systems in Use:

  • Specifications – what types of systems are employed; are they up-to-date?
  • Networked: are they networked – wired – wireless – patron access to wireless?
  • Internet access & type of connection (cable modem, ATM, T-1)
  • Automation: are they automated and what is the name of the system?
  • Space requirements for technology – do they have sufficient space, electrical outlets, data ports for network/Internet?
  • Furniture: what kind of furniture do they have for technology?
  • Any assistive technologies?
  • Are they paying attention to ergonomics?
  • Specific technology for children, YAs?

Library Tech Policies

  • Policies & forms associated with library technology (e.g. Acceptable Use Policy, Time limited Internet access, etc)
  • Community use – is there equipment in the library that can be used by community organizations or signed out by patrons, town meetings, etc.?
  • Circulation of hardware & software – does the library sign out equipment and software (DVD, CD, Video)?
  • Does the library have downloads of eBooks, iFlicks, MP3, books on tape?
  • Storage of hardware & software – how does the library store/shelf equipment, DVD, Video, CD, etc.?


  • Maintenance & repair – how does technology get repaired; in-house or sent out?
  • What is backup protocol?

Challenges, Strategies and Unique Offerings

  • What works? 
  • What doesn’t work: what types of technology in the library need to be revamped or rethought for optimal use by or for patrons?
  • What’s on the staff wish list – big or small?
  • Is there a unique service provided by this particular library?
  • Emerging technologies? TCP/IP throughout, P2P/peer to peer networking, RFID, voice & translation capability, XML, web services – which are worthwhile to pursue, have potential at KFL?


  • What types of security measures are taken to prevent theft of hardware or software, viruses, etc.?
  • What kinds of encryption and authentication does web service use  to improve level of security?


 Matthews, Joseph R. (2004).  Technology planning: preparing and updating a library technology plan. Libraries Unlimited, Westport, CT.

KFL Genealogy Group Meeting Saturday, October 4th, 2014


I’m a bit of a family history buff; I’ve been chasing ancestors for decades, though I admit the material is nothing you could call organized or ‘archival’. The Internet has created exponential search options; KFL has free access for patrons to a vast array of sites – for the amateur and professional genealogist, it’s quite thrilling.

A few years back I began attending monthly meetings of the KFL Genealogy Group but life found me busy Saturday mornings with another project, learning to archive a lifetime of poetry by Christine Teale Howes for the Maine Women Writers Collection.  It’s time to rejoin this group (poetry archiving continues on another day each week).  I’ve included a couple links below to wet your appetites.

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Kennebunk Free Library

112 Main Street, Kennebunk, Maine 04043

10 am – noon

Hank’s Room

Panel Discussion of Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs

No charge, no reservations needed!  

Contact info: Janet Cate: 207.985.2173