Library users can check out wireless Internet access

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Lincoln Lawrence Franklin Regional Library System is makinglife a little easier for travelers, students, business folk andothers who rely on their laptop computers in everyday life.

Library Director Henry Ledet said the system has had wirelessInternet access now for a few months. However, officials did notpublicize it until now because they wanted to make sure they hadall the kinks worked out.

“We’ve been working on it for about three or four months,” he said.”We didn’t want to publicize it until we were sure it was workingright.”

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Ledet said the move to wireless Internet access was not only amatter of convenience, it was brought in by popular demand.

“We had people coming and asking for it, and we were having tounplug one of our computers if they needed to use their own laptopso they could plug it in,” he said.

And it’s not only the Lincoln County Public Library, but all thelibraries in the Lincoln Lawrence Franklin Regional Library System.The Lawrence County Public Library in Monticello, the

Franklin County Public Library in Meadville, the Bude PublicLibrary and the New Hebron Public Library have also installed themodern convenience.

Ledet said making area residents more technology-savvy is one ofthe perks.

“It’s so important that we make our communities ready for thefuture,” he said. “We must be comfortable with technology if we’regoing to continue to grow.”

The system is currently open for anyone to use without a password,but will be switching to a new and faster connection in the nearfuture, Ledet said.

When that happens, a login and password will be needed to accessthe network. Ledet said that the user name will be “patron” and thepassword will be “access.”

The password will be put into place simply to control bandwidth,Ledet said. Library workers will supply the information to patronswho forget how to log in.

“It’s just so we can limit the bandwidth available when we needto,” he said.

He said, though, that based on the fact that security is hard toregulate on a wireless network for the public, users are advised tobe careful about what kind of information they release while usingthe system at the library.

“There are some firewalls in place, but it’s not as secure as itcould be,” he said. “You don’t want to do financial transactionsfrom here.”

He said the new service will help a little with security, but thatpatrons will still need to print from a library computer ratherthan their personal laptops.

“That way we prevent someone sitting in their car in the parkinglot, printing huge amounts of things to the printer after hours,”said Ledet, laughing. “I hadn’t thought of that, but otherlibraries said they’d had problems with it on occasion.”

He said a good way to circumvent that problem is to email theinformation to an Internet-based account and pull it up from thelibrary computers to print.

As far as out-of-pocket expenses for the library, Ledet said basedupon the grant money the library had received to put towardtelecommunications, the wireless Internet service is actuallycosting less than a regular land phone line.