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Wireless? Really!? - NOT from the Cool Librarian Blog

My library finally has wireless internet access for the public. That's a very good thing, especially for a library the size of ours, and the fact that we are on the main drag on the way to a fairly major New England vacation town. Everyday someone asks if we have wireless - and now I can say, "Yes! Yes we do!"

Ahhh, you detect a "but" on the way, don't you?

BUT - NO ONE TOLD ME!! Uh huh, that's right, no one thought it might be a good idea to tell one of the reference librarians - AND THE PERSON WHO BLOGS THE LIBRARY NEWS AND THE PERSON WHO MAKES THE SIGNS - not to mention the the librarian who is considered the "techie" - that the library now has wireless. Unfreakinbelievable.

Now, I knew that we had the routers installed - they were quite visible. But the installation of the routers coincided with the arrival of our new laptops. After some going around, it was decided that the laptops would not be loaned to patrons for in-house use - so I was unclear on whether or not the routers had been activated, and whether the WiFi was going to be available to the public. Perhaps I would have just assumed that yes, of course the wireless is on and available, but, to be honest, the fact that it takes FOREVER to get anything tech done around there, and the fact that I did not hear ONE WORD of buzz about being wireless, I didn't realize we were actually live. Now I know I should have asked.

But, really, the fact is that people are so uninterested and "unimpressed" with the fact that we can now offer a new and pretty important service to our patrons, that no one thought to tell me. I'm only there three days a week, so sometimes I'm the last to know - but this? Not even a note. Thankfully, one of the circ people asked me, "Is it true? Do we have wireless now?" Um, since I didn't know the answer to that question, I had to ask the circ manager, and then I called the IT person to confirm:

"Hey, do we have wireless now?"
"Yep."
"Is it open to the public?"
"Yep."
"Is there a login or password?"
"Nope."
"Um, no one thought a sign to this effect might be nice?"
"Ha, guess not."

Not three second later, a patron came over with his laptop and asked if we had wireless. I said yes. He asked for help getting on the system. And, that turned out to be a tad more involved than we expected - his laptop's wireless software (he was not using the Windows WiFi manager) did not want to play with our signal. It was recognizing the signal, but would not connect. I fiddled with it until I got it working.... But, this begs the questions - do we need a "how to" sheet that addresses potential connection problems? Should we test our connection on some different laptops? Um, yes and yes.

Amyway, I'm psyched we have wireless - and I just wish that my co-workers were as well.

OK, rant off.

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Comment by W Greg Taylor on April 16, 2007 at 4:35pm
Boy, I commiserate...at one of the libraries I work at, wireless has been coming in 6 months for the last 2 years...
Comment by Jeff Scott on March 27, 2007 at 7:09pm
We told everyone, but we still didn't get a response until we made a very prominent banner on our webpage that we had wireless. I was able to get the image thanks to Bill Drew! Take a look at it here http://cglibrary.org We had 186 wireless users sign up in January alone!
Comment by Jessica on March 26, 2007 at 6:31pm
Thanks, everyone, for the comments! I thibk it's funny that I get more comments here than on my "real" blog, but, whatever - it's all good.

James - Thanks so much for pointing me to that WiFi sheet - very cool, and I am sure I will be tweaking it to meet our needs. And, I like your cat pic.
Comment by James E Weaver on March 26, 2007 at 5:16pm
Wow, have we ever had some of those communications lacunae! But our IT folks, knowing that allowing the public to use WiFi in our buildings (9) where there may never be a techie-oriented staffer like you Jessica, put together the FAQ you can read/copy/etc at http://www.wcls.org/pdf_files/WirelessInternet.pdf - it certainly has been a godsend in our dealing with troublesome patrons. BTW, our homepage now proclaims that *all* nine of our branches have WiFi available.

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