Tag Archives: library technology

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 (http://kennebunklibrary.org/kennebunk/images/sitepics/long%20range%20plan%20final%209-20-13.pdf).  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 (http://minerva.maine.edu/).


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 (http://www.kennebunklibrary.org/kennebunk/documents/policies/auppolicyfinal.pdf).  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 (http://www.kennebunklibrary.org/kennebunk/documents/laptop%20lending%20policy%20091812%20final.pdf).


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 http://www.kennebunklibrary.org (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 http://www.librarywebsites.com.

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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 http://www.kennebunklibrary.org/kennebunk/images/sitepics/minerva%20brochure.pdf .


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: (http://www.kennebunklibrary.org/kennebunk/images/sitepics/long%20range%20plan%20final%209-20-13.pdf ).

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 http://www.portlandlibrary.com/locations/portable-library/l); 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 http://www.pressherald.com/2013/04/02/new-portland-book-mobile-has-wireless-servive-solar-power/

Portable Library. (2014). Received from http://www.portlandlibrary.com/locations/portable-library/