Chesterton Tribune


Library to offer better wireless access and music downloads

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Stronger, more-reliable wireless access points are being installed at Westchester Public Library facilities so patrons wonít be timed out and their work session interrupted.

WPL director Phil Baugher said Thursday that patrons will be able to get a stronger signal available 24 hours a day. In addition, the new wireless access wonít require patrons to login using their library card number as is the policy now.

There will be no time limit on WPL wireless sessions. Library officials noted many businesses including restaurants are offering their patrons similar wireless access.

Baugher also described additional resources WPL is planning to offer through its redesigned website beginning next year.

Freegal will allow patrons to download a maximum of three songs per week from a catalog of over 3 million songs including the Sony music collection. The songs, which can be downloaded to a disk, computer, iPod or MP3 player, will not expire. The music will be available to WPLís over 10,000 registered resident patrons using their library card number, which must be updated annually to verify a current address.

Libraries are changing how they deliver materials to patrons, said Baugher, and Freegal is another way to bring content to them.

Also next year an instructional language series will be added offering 13 different languages including Spanish to English lessons.

WPL purchased 10 new backlit, pre-loaded Nook eReaders bringing the Nook total to 20 for circulation.

Expansion affordable, advisable?

By consensus board members with Nick Tilden and Claire Jolie absent authorized Baugher to have H.J. Umbaugh and Associates submit a proposal to look at WPL cash management to yield better investment return, and to analyze library income and expenses over the next three to five years to determine if adjustments are needed.

WPL currently has $7.1 million in all funds, $4.9 million of that in investments.

The third component of the 2013 study will be to assess whether itís affordable and advisable to embark on a WPL building project. Expanding Thomas Library in Chesterton and/or Hageman Library in Porter have been mentioned through the years and money has been accumulated to help offset that cost.

Baugher recommended Umbaugh because the firm worked with the Allen County Public Library on its library renovation and construction projects.

Recently completed at Thomas Library is renovation of the second-floor restrooms; fixtures and tile were updated. The first-floor Thomas restrooms were expanded and made handicapped-accessible earlier this year. The library opened in 1975.

Baugher reported the upstairs restrooms were closed for last monthís Wizard of Oz festival and building visitors including patrons were required to sign for a key for the downstairs restrooms; the key was signed out 82 times over two days.

2013 budget proposal advances

In other business, with the Porter County Council having given its approval to WPLís proposed 2013 budget, the Library Board conducted a public hearing Thursday. No one commented. A second hearing and budget adoption are slated at a special 7 p.m. Oct. 25 Library Board meeting at Thomas. Final approval is up to state tax officials.

It was announced the Friends of the Library fall book sale is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 20 at Thomas. A new banner for the building will promote the sale, whose proceeds are donated to WPL, and the library has arranged to advertise the sale on the new Chamber of Commerce LED monument sign at Indiana 49 and Porter Avenue.

Baugher said WPL will host an open house Nov. 3 to publicize its departmental services. Those attending may register for door prizes.

Also planned is a photo contest with entries to be displayed at the library. The winning photo will be enlarged and placed in the library; the photographer will receive an enlarged framed copy.

It was announced additional security cameras have been installed at the WPL-owned Library Service Center and at Thomas.



Posted 10/12/2012