Computer FAQs

What type of computer equipment do you have?

We have computers running Microsoft Windows XP available at all of our branches for public use. The systems in use have USB flash drive capability. We strive to keep our public equipment under 5 years old to provide the fastest service possible to our patrons. To accommodate those with disabilities or special needs, we have text magnifier and English-language narrator speech on our computers.

What software is available on your machines?

Our computers are loaded with Microsoft Internet Explorer, for browsing the Internet, and the Microsoft Office Professional Suite (Word, Access, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint). You may find educational games on children's computers, and access to paid databases for research on all Internet and research computers.

May I borrow a set of headphones to use on Library computers?

Due to health concerns, the Library's policy on headphone use no longer allows this. If you do not own a set of compatible headphones, you may purchase a set for $2.00 from the Reference Desk. All headsets purchased from the library are no longer library property and become the responsibility of the patron.

How fast is your Internet connection?

We are networked with at least 10BaseT Ethernet at the Main, Madison, Bailey Cove, Eleanor Murphy, Bessie K. Russell, and Showers Center locations, which allows speeds of up to 10 megabits per second (approx. 200 times faster than dialup connections). A fiber line connects our central network to our Internet Service Provider.

Do I have to make a reservation?

Much of the time all computers are in use, so it is in your best interest to make a reservation where possible. However, we do accept walk-ins immediately for unreserved computers which are vacant.

What if someone fails to show up for a reservation?

It is our policy to allow everyone ten minutes in the Computer Training Center, and 5 minutes elsewhere to show up for appointments. After that time the computer is made available for others.

May I check my email on your computers?

On our full-service and quick e-mail stations, you may access any web-based email account such as Yahoo! or Hotmail. Many Internet service providers (such as AOL, MSN, and Knology) also allow web-based email access.

How much does it cost to use a computer?

Use of the computer is free. However, there is a charge of 15 cents per page for printing. Flash drives are available for $7.00.

Do I have to pay for pages that I printed but do not want?

Yes. You are responsible for paying for all pages that you print. Staff will gladly demonstrate the use of Internet Explorer's “Print Preview” feature so that you can easily determine in advance which pages you want to print. In addition, our print management software, LPT:One, will inform you of the number of pages you are about to print.

Can I use my own paper for printing?

To avoid printer damage and to pay for toner use costs, printing can only be done on library supplied paper.

How long may I use the computer?

Generally, you may have one hour (60 minutes) a day. Some locations, such as the Computer Training Center, have expanded use, up to 2 hours per day. See our complete Computer Policies for more information.

Why can't I install or download software on your computers?

The Library uses security software that prevents the transmission of viruses or changes to our settings. This software prevents the installation of unauthorized programs. You may not save files or connect your own equipment to our computers.

May I use my own disk?

You may save your files to your own portable USB flash storage devices. The Library no longer supports 3½-inch floppy disk. The Library is not responsible for any damage that might occur to a patron's personal device and cannot guarantee, due to manufacturer variations, that all flash drives will work with library workstations.

May I play games, visit chat rooms or use Instant Messengers?

You may play some games. Games with interactive chat are not permitted. Chat is an unacceptable use of our computers as stated in our Computer Policies. Instant Messaging is blocked.

Why do you allow people to play games and listen to music on the library computers? I need to type a report. Why can't you tell them to get off the computer?

We provide free and equal access to library computers. Patrons are allowed to visit music sites and some game sites, provided that they are not chat-based games. As long as computers are being used in accordance with library policies we do not restrict access or end a patron's time early.

What's wrong with this computer?

If you experience any problems with the computer or have trouble printing, ask a Library staff member to assist you. Do not turn the computer off or reboot the computers.

What if this page didn't answer all of my questions?

Contact us! You may email us, or call the Regional Computer Training Center at (256) 532-2356. We will do our best to find the answer to your question, or to find someone who might know the answer!