Category Archives: Kennbunk Free Library

Details from site visit and technology offerings.



Wow – I don’t know where to begin.  I have had technical challenges, editing challenges (I am way too wordy A LOT of the time), and concerns about meeting the ‘deliverables’ for the assignment.  Did I hit all the marks in the rubric?  Did i even know what a rubric really was when I started?

Mostly I worried about the mechanics at first – I was definitely a technology visitor for this project.  I lost my first posting!  Hilarious on some level, freaked me out on another.  I changed formats after a couple weeks from a perfectly serviceable background with books which i thoroughly liked to this wild, colorful option because of my mechanical challenges.  I couldn’t seem to get rid of some of the background irritants so I ended up switching to a format that was more Rusty-friendly.

Then I started creating drafts/posts and saving them ahead of time because I was busy elsewhere and wanted to be sure my postings went out regularly.  I didn’t check back for a while and found I had set the wrong dates so (of course) they weren’t posted, resulting in a few ‘back to back’ posts instead of a more thought-out post-as-you-go approach.

I still have some technical issues I haven’t resolved and no, I’m not going to tell you.  I’ll let you all figure it out!

Janet Cate at KFL is a marvel.  I emailed her in September, sat with her for an hour  or more that same month and then had another email exchange for clarity.  I didn’t check back with her for more details; I decided to visit the library and ask a few questions of other staff members while I took photos.  Everyone was more than helpful and eager to share their expertise.

Did I tick off all the bullets in the instructions including hIghlights, exemplary, unique service, more reflections?

HIGHLIGHTS (not previously mentioned):

There is a Maine Children’s Book Illustration gallery in the downstairs hall at KFL outside the children’s room.  I will attach a couple photos that don’t do it justice.  While not strictly a technology piece, it shows the beauty that goes into reading material for young people and deserves special mention.


Wade Zaharis, pastel

Rising Liberty: The Story of the Statue of Liberty by Pegi Dietz Shea


GENEALOGY: many libraries now offer genealogical resources, KFL is designated as a Family Research Center by They hold monthly genealogy educational and research meetings that are well attended.  The KFL website has a genealogical resource page with additional links.


October Meeting: tips on genealogical blogs and podcasts


Maine genealogical reference guides

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genealogy poster 2014-2015

(please click all images to enlarge)


A staff that first caught the technology bug in the 1990s and didn’t let it get the better of them. Twenty years of researching new technologies, new lingo (interactive website, OPAC, e-books, twitter feed!), and staying current in a true technological revolution has led this group to an impressive skill set on which all patrons have come to rely as they use the modern resources at the Kennebunk Free Library.  Leadership, education, sharing their skills, keeping the community aware of their new automated systems, partnering with local museums and libraries to benefit their ‘customers’ – it has been a pleasure for me to learn how adept and skilled each and every library worker has become.


Special thanks to Janet Cate at KFL & everyone else on staff for letting me ask repetitious questions and for demonstrating Overdrive and the DaVinci magnifier and just generally letting me snap a lot of photos of my friend, retired children’s librarian, Lynda Bryan.  Huge appreciation to Sue Perkins at Cape Porpoise Library for taking me on as her Tuesday afternoon volunteer, and thanks a million to my mom, the Reverend Pat Adams (retired!) for loaning me her golden girl, Casey, to perk up this school project.  I learned so much, loved the challenge and now have a new skill that otherwise I would never have thought to pursue.

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                                            Lynda Bryan checking her email at KFL                finally getting to relax, Casey & Mom

   IMG_1560   Sue Perkins, Director, Cape Porpoise Library


Library Visit Notes: Web 2.0, Staff Tech Support, Budgeting, Security & the like


Web 2.0/subscription-based electronic materials & social media:

KFL social media is active weekly and sometimes daily via their blog, tweets, and Facebook, all which show a substantial following.  These options  allow for a fresh approach and instantaneous collaboration between patron and staff, a phenomenon that is on the rise in the world of libraries.

Patrons can access subscription-based audio and e-books from the website, do a catalog search for books, magazines, movies and use the free online genealogical records, and use ILL to find that elusive item that KFL may not have in-house.

Downloadable resource use has increased sharply since the library began offering pre-loaded e-readers (and since late 2011, downloadable audio & e-books).  Patron access to downloadable e-books increased 27% from FY 2012-FY 2013.  There was a slight decrease in computer use in FY 2012-13, but increased use of personal computers using the library’s Wi-Fi.

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Maine InfoNet Download Library

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Twitter Feed

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                                                                                       indieflix                                               KFL Family Search Center Posting

Other Technology/Behind the Scenes:

The library offers wireless printing (black/white for patrons, color for staff), faxing, LCD projector and sound system for outdoor use, DaVinci magnifier with speech to text, microfilm reader , 4 ipads for in-house educational tech classes and a scanner.  The staff offices were redesigned in 2013 for better ergonomics and work flow.  From all accounts, the improvement is welcomed and was a real boost to morale.



copier at Front Desk


Electronic Checkout!

(verbal permission granted by patron and staff)


DaVinci magnifier


Office computers

Tech Support:

Janet Cate reports that as far as humanly possible, the staff has educated themselves on the many facets of different technologies and has done a good deal of troubleshooting learning.  A local company is available 24/7 to deal with any challenges that are beyond their understanding.  This past October the library hired  a new technical services librarian, Michelle Williams, in response to the ongoing technical nature of the library system.  She will focus on technology and cataloging, and brings a strong background to the staff.

Building Upgrades, Best Practices  & Security:

Any library that moves into the 21st century of technology must make significant improvements to their physical building: outlets, Wi-Fi access, connectivity, heating and cooling, accessibility and security to name a few.

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Entry way automated elevator: one floor up to Adults, one floor down to Children’s


Honeywell Automated Fire Alarm


wireless access


Best Practices: cell phone use


barcoded computer security


Extra outlets throughout


Best Practices: still a place for peace and quiet!


building security/Hoook, Line & Cable Securities


wall-mounted security box at front entrance


Libraries today must build evidence that supports their technological needs in order for funding and library associations to be able to justify their support of budget requests.  Questions & focus are important: some ideas may be fun but not really an actual need, should we try before we buy?, can the library afford it?, what percentage of patrons will benefit from the changes?

Kennebunk Free Library created a long range plan for 2013-2018 (  By researching community demographics, they were able to show that 67% of Maine homes have Internet access, ranking the state 32nd in 2010 and that Kennebunk has a median age of 48.2, compared to the state average age of 42.7.  The top 3 areas within KFL that were most effected by these statistics were collection choices, technology and services offered.

A patron survey further showed that after prioritizing improved parking (84%), other high priorities included mantaining current hours (82%), access to computers with Internet (82%), Wi-Fi access (81%) and the library website (77%).  These numbers clearly show a widespread need for technology at KFL.  While the town has a higher per capita income than other Maine towns, the average age and Internet access provide justification for investing in improved technology.

KFL works within a yearly budget of $625,000 (approximately).  The technology costs below were supplied by Janet Cate for 2014.  Of the $20,000 budgeted for technological needs, audio CDs cost $3600, $4500 was spent on DVDs and software costs were $800 for email blasts and promotion, Follett circulation and cataloging software.  The vast majority of the tech budget was for technology (repairs, new technology, website management, telephone technology, web hosting and monthly service contracts)and non-filter fees ($11,725).  One would suspect that this portion of the budget will only increase as time goes forward.

Pulling It All Together:

Kennebunk Free Library is a shining example of a small town library working to keep itself current in our new technological world.  They have worked tirelessly to keep themselves up-to-date on their technological skills, they have researched, budgeted, tested and requested funds for technology improvements on behalf of their patrons since 1997.  As a result they are just what and where they want to be: a living, breathing, creating hub of community activity for the Kennebunks.  Both their 5 year plan and the support of the Friends of the Kennebunk Library ensures that they will be ready for the challenges ahead.

(As always, please click on photos to enlarge and backclick to return to posting).

Cate, Janet. ( 2014). KFL finances for tech report.xls. Personal correspondence.

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

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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!

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 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!!!…………..

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


Learning to Blog, 2nd attempt…


It’s always good to challenge yourself with new projects, isn’t it?  I started this process 10 days ago, saying how excited I was to be on my way to learning something technical that was beyond my normal comfort level and now I can’t retrieve it – somehow this strikes me as funny and ironic, even though I do not mean to be unmindful that this is a serious class assignment.  So be it – l shall try again quite happily.  I think it would be safe to say I am still trying to get my head around wordpress and have spent a lot of time clicking about, trying to grasp the logistics.

I have chosen the Kennebunk Free Library (KFL)  in Kennebunk, Maine for my assignment.  It is a lovely 2-story brick building in the heart of downtown Kennebunk and is genuinely a gathering place for this town of 11,000.  As in many communities, we love our libraries here in the Kennebunks, each is different and charming in their own way, and each has made the technology transition as best they can.

On the library website, you can click onto the History and Mission page ( ) which shows that the seeds of the library began in 1881 as a reading room in a nearby Unitarian church with the backing of a local pastor and committees of town women. By 1892, funds were raised, KFL had  been willed a sizeable donation and my favorite notation, “Town appropriates funds from dog tax for library use, $176”.

Last week I called Janet Cate, Assistant Director of KFL and forwarded an email request, along with my questions, asking if they had the time and staff who could show me around and answer some questions.  Within 48 hours, Janet had called back and we set up an appointment for 2 pm on Wednesday, September 17th.

Prior to meeting with Janet, I set up an account on and organized my questions for the interview.  Stay tuned for more details of our interview; it was so informative!

Kennebunk Free Library 112 Main Street Kennebunk, ME 04043 207.985.2173

Kennebunk Free Library
112 Main Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043