Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy to Share

For some time I have been noticing people parked in their cars and bent over their laptops and PDAs early in the morning before we open. It's a sight that makes me smile, because our wireless signal transcends our ordinary schedule. 

Our latest public survey tells us that many people would like it if the library were open (check each that applies) earlier, later, and on Sundays. We'd like that too, in the better world that lies out there in the vapors. (Vapors are notoriously short on cold, hard cash).

So it surprised us to learn of a library in Alaska that actually encourages the police to arrest those who access its wi-fi when it's closed. Where's the harm?

Concerned that I was missing some subtle library point, I asked Lucinda. After all, I'm not a Real Librarian, and I wondered if I was being loose with resources, rather like a kid who works in an ice cream parlor and wants to give free cones to all her pals.

The boss was puzzled. "Why would they do that?" she asked. "I like knowing that there's something we can offer the public 24-7."

She went on to tell me that some libraries do turn off their wi-fi when they close, because they don't want the public "using" their signals, as if they could somehow wear them out.

They can't.

So come ahead, Norwich. The boss says it's all right. If we could be open more hours, we'd be delighted. In the meantime, if a cup of joe in a travel mug and an email check-in in our parking lot is helpful, we are more than happy to share.

Chief Robinson, it's cool.

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