It won’t take long for patrons of the Saline District Library to notice its latest addition. The Library still appears the same, but one look into the computer room will reveal wide eyes, smiles and astonishment on the faces of Internet users.
That’s because the Library just upgraded to a MeritFiber Internet connection. The fiber-optic connection is Ferrari-fast. Online content, in particular video, can be viewed as intended without interruptions.
Saline District Library was a pioneer for library Internet access in Washtenaw County, becoming one of the first to offer Internet access to their patrons over fifteen years ago. Since then the Library has consistently upgraded their Internet resources to meet the growing demand of their community.
“Our patrons are using the Internet differently today than they were even three years ago,” said Saline District Library’s Director, Leslee Niethammer. “We’re very pleased to offer the speeds enabled by our new connection.”
Saline District Library has more than quadrupled their bandwidth offerings in the last year. Just over a year ago, the Library was connected by a 1.5 Mbps (Megabits per second) line, referred to in the industry as a “T1.” Frustrated by the slow speeds, they added a second T1 to increase their connectivity to 3 Mbps, but this still wasn’t enough. The T1 lines are aging technology, and even the simplest Internet tasks ran slowly.
Since the MeritFiber upgrade, Library patrons are using the technology of the future and averaging upwards of 10 Mbps in bandwidth usage. And because the Library is connected by MeritFiber, it can accommodate almost any amount of future growth. In bandwidth terms, the sky is the limit.
Saline District Library is part of The Library Network (TLN), a public library cooperative serving 65 libraries in Southeast Michigan. TLN enables collaborative initiatives with other libraries that allow them to accomplish more. The Library also utilizes Michigan eLibrary’s MelCat service which opens up the State of Michigan’s library collections to patrons of the Saline District Library. The new MeritFiber connection will bring more of the State’s collection to patrons at faster speeds.
And in case you’re wondering, Saline District Library offers classes on Internet usage, see www.salinelibrary.org.
The Library is connected with a fiber-optic connection from Merit Network, a networking provider to Michigan’s education and research community. Merit serves libraries and other organizations in education, government and health care throughout the state and offers its Members reduced rates to share communications among like organizations.
The Saline District Library connection benefits from a Washtenaw County-based consortium that includes Merit Network, Inc., Eastern Michigan University, Fiber Link, Inc., and Washtenaw County. Leveraging Merit’s existing leading-edge network, the consortium was formed to create fiber-optic infrastructure to extend the capabilities of distance learning in the region and increase the ability for community organizations to share resources over fiber.
The recently-expanded Saline District Library is a 33,000 square foot building set on 14 wooded acres in the heart of Saline. The library houses over 95,000 items, including books, large print books, DVDs, videos, music CDs, CD-ROMs, audiobooks (tape, CD, and Playaways), newspapers, and magazines. Downloadable audiobooks, ebooks, and music are available online. Internet access and online databases provide patrons with the most current information available and programming, including story hours, book discussion groups, summer reading programs, craft workshops, lectures, and more, are offered for all ages. Saline District Library has been a Merit Member since 1994.