By Debby Farmer
Public internet access has become one of the most used services of public libraries in recent years. At the Blaine Library, two internet stations are available for 30 minute sessions during library open hours. Because of high demand, a limit of one session per day is currently in place, with the option of scheduling 24 hours in advance.
On Wednesday, September 29, we installed 3M’s Public Access Management System. With this new software come new procedures for utilizing the Blaine Library internet stations. Whereas no card has been necessary for internet access in the past, a card will now be physically required to begin and manage each session. Current Whatcom County library card holders who desire internet access will need to exchange their cards for new “smart” cards. These cards will continue to serve as library cards, but also contain a chip that will allow access to the internet stations. A person not eligible for a regular library card (not living, working or owning property in Whatcom County) can be issued a guest card for accessing the internet.
number of optional system features will enable the user
to schedule future reservations through the system itself,
set up a personalized account with saved favorites, (although
this maintains a traceable history,) and navigate the
internet with a predetermined filtering level in place.
Adults will have the option of three filtering levels,
while parents/guardians of children under 18 will have
seven levels from which to choose (including no internet
access) for their children’s
accounts. If no filtering level is chosen, the default
is unfiltered. In preparation of this internet management
system, the form, “Internet Filtering – Your
Choice, Your Decision,” was mass mailed to all
juvenile WCLS library card holder families last year,
with a response requested. If you did not receive this
form, or are unsure or want to change your child’s
filtering level, please stop by the library. Finally,
this internet management system will not function with
Bellingham Public Library cards. Those patrons desiring
regular internet access at WCLS branches, or those parents
desiring filtering levels for their children, will find
it advantageous to obtain a WCLS card, (which also works
for checkout at Bellingham).
Please be aware that no internet filter is 100 percent effective. We encourage families to discuss the internet in relation to family values no matter what level of access is chosen. We also ask for your patience, as we learn yet another new system at the Blaine Library!