Public Access

Internet Access @ your library

bq.Virtually every U.S. public library now offers free Internet access but most ration it, inhibiting the ability of lower-income families to benefit from the Information Age. – “Anick Jesdanun(Library internet access better than ever)”: At my library, we ration internet usage as well. But we also allow people to stay on longer if they have a legitimate need to do so (which does happen, but is extremely rare). In my experience, this is much less of an issue than the article makes it out to be.
bq.One of the ways in which we can help our libraries succeed is turning them into user-centered institutions. This means really thinking about our users, and examining the rules and policies that might benefit us, but also might be preventing our patrons’ successful use and continued enjoyment of our libraries. – “Aaron Schmidt(letting go)”: We also went through a couple of changes very recently that may or may not help. Guest Access is now $1.00 for a week (reduced from $5.00). We now have razor-thin margin, but I argue that we would actually make more money with a better P/E ratio. And it seems to be working. But of course, this actually increases usage. The other change is that wireless access for non-residents is now free, instead of $3.00 for a week (greatly reduced staff time). This hasn’t been used a tremendous amount yet, but I think it will continue to have a positive impact as we move into the future.

By Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997.

Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident.

Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida.

He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995.

However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999.

In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.