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“Home, Paige.”

January 17, 2003

Sometimes, we have services forced on us: curbs and sidewalks, fresh ground pepper, public libraries.

If you use the computers at the library, we force our Home Page on you. You generally have to see it first before moving elsewhere on the Internet.

Most people today know what a home page is, even if they are not Internet savvy. “Home” is a pretty strong metaphor.

I can’t help but hear the phrase “home page” in a certain way, so that it sounds like a sentence to me: “Home, Paige,” as I might say if I’d replaced my driver James with a spunky redhead.

Note that the library home page slowly changes, and you may not have noticed some new features.

You already know that you can search the library’s catalog via the Internet. As well, if you were at a computer inside the library, you could use a variety of indexes and databases for which the library buys subscriptions.

Now, you can use the library’s subscription databases from home, as well. Look on our home page, http://salidalibrary.org, for the “Research” link “At home.” This link will take you to a Patron Authentication page. There, you type in your library card number and PIN, and you’re in.

On the left, you will see a list of all the restricted databases offered. Now that we can do what’s called Remote Patron Authentication, we can put some very handy and powerful information tools at your fingertips … wherever they might be.

I encourage you to take a look at what we currently offer; we will likely add more to the list. Now and then you’ll see new choices as we try out different databases. We’re open to suggestions.

For the purposes of “marketing,” we tried to think of more enticing words for these tools, other than databases and indexes, but that is what they are. Many of them contain “full text,” meaning you can read the article right there on your computer screen, if you so desire, or print or e-mail it.

Once you know what’s available, as well as how easy it is to use these anywhere, I think many people will become addicted.

Let’s say you want to read the transcript of NPR’s “All things considered” interview with the magician and skeptic James Randi about the recent cloned baby incident. Well, you can. (Log in, choose “Newspaper Source,” search for “James Randi.”)

To use these indexes from home, you’ll need your library card number as well as a PIN, which is a four-digit number of your choosing that we will add to your library record.

Most library card holders don’t have the PIN right now. It’s easy to add, but for security reasons we won’t do it by phone. The PIN will also give you access to your library record online (e.g. books you have checked out). Please stop by the library to have us add your PIN to your record.

Also new: In addition to book lists for suggested reading, we have three different lists of books new to the library: (i) books on the “New Book” shelf, (ii) fiction new to the library but not the “New Book” shelf, (iii) and similarly, new non-fiction.

Also new: In addition to Staff Picks, we have just started a Patron Picks page. If you would like to add your book recommendations, please feel free to give them to Kathy — by voice, paper, fax, or email. Yes, it is an edited page.

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