Monett library to heighten Internet security

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Directors with the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library voted to increase security on the district's wireless service following an incident at the Monett Branch on May 6.

During the board's May meeting, director Gina Milburn described how a customer at the Monett Branch had illegally accessed and shared copyrighted material using the district's wireless Internet service. Episodes of the animated TV show "South Park" were downloaded.

With the assistance of off-site technical support and security staff at MOREnet, the district's Internet provider, investigators determined the customer used the district's wireless service. Milburn said customers in the future will be notified that such activity is illegal.

One of the solutions has been to change the password daily. The off-site technical support group recommended setting up a computer server in the regional office. That would allow customers to use the wireless service with a unique password after agreeing to the library's wireless use policy. This approach would pinpoint problems to specific machines.

Estimated cost for the wireless server for set-up and labor, using an old computer, was estimated at $875. Board members authorized the investment.

Shell Knob branch

Looking at other improvements, Karen Foster with the Shell Knob Friends of the Library and Milburn led a discussion on the Shell Knob Branch. More space, especially on one level, would better serve the Shell Knob customers.

After reviewing the options to renovate the existing library, buying another property or erecting a new building, the board approved launching a fundraising campaign in Shell Knob.

Financial action

Board members reviewed three bids for a new Ford E150 commercial van. They selected the low bid from Jimmy Michel Motors in Aurora for $22,596.

The 90-day trial with Unique Management Service (UMS) as a debt collection service on overdue material concluded at the end of May. The board and staff agreed that the gentle reminders to return material and to pay outstanding fines had succeeded.

To continue the service, the district would have to pay for the $2,999 module and an annual support fee of $799. The fee per customer notification is $8. Accounts turned over the UMS accrue a $10 service charge. According to Milburn, the library had received enough in overdue fines and fees, plus returned material, to pay for the service.

Board members voted to stay with UMS. Under a discount offered, the library would receive the second year of support service free of charge, and the third year would cost $799.

Tax collections for 2013 have run slightly higher than in 2012, Milburn reported. Costs have increased slightly, mostly due to utilities and fuel.

Summer Reading Club

The Summer Reading program kicked off in the first week on June. Materials left over from last year's program will serve as incentives for participation. Grant money did not come through, so no grand prizes will be awarded to top participants.

Circulation totals remained down for April. Milburn noted computer and wireless Internet use at each branch remains high. Patrons also come in for meetings and to read magazines and newspapers without checking out material. Numbers through March showed branches remained busy throughout the winter months.

Personnel action

Dale Ellis, of Monett, was hired as a temporary part-time driver for the regional office. Ellis takes the place of Melvin Casper, who requested three weeks of vacation.

Connie Curbow, a former part-time substitute, was hired to replace Mary Lowry, the part-time library assistant for youth services at the Purdy Branch. A replacement is being sought for Shannon Snider, the part-time library clerk at the Aurora Branch, who turned in her resignation.

Milburn and administrative assistant Joyce Frazier completed the annual branch evaluations in April. They found the branches in good condition and staff doing a good job maintaining the buildings and the collections.

The appointment of two board members, Lester Richesin, from Lawrence County, and Felicity Nesbitt, of Barry County, will expire on June 30. Both expressed an interest in continuing to serve, and Milburn said she would request county commissioners to renew the appointments.

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