| Jun 03, 2010

The relationship between libraries and the internet has augmented the ongoing role of libraries in rural communities. But there are limits to what libraries can offer.

For the Flinton library, hitting the bandwith limit in their satellite internet contract may have sparked a chain reaction that led to the library being vandalized.

On Saturday, May 22 at about 4 pm in the afternoon, someone climbed up to the roof of the Flinton Library and cut two cables, severing the connection between a satellite dish and the modem. June Phillips, the Chief Executive Officer of the Addington Highlands Library, thinks the vandalism might be connected to a decision that was made earlier in May to password protect the internet router in the Flinton branch.

Until then, the unsecured wireless signal coming from the router in the branch was accessible through wifi-equipped laptop computers located in the vicinity of the library. This allowed neighbours and others who were willing to park nearby and make use of the satellite internet signal.

“What was happening was that some people were using the service for large downloads and we started using more bandwidth than was included in our contract,” said June Phillips in explaining why the security was necessary.

The service contract that the library has with its provider is already the maximum that is available so the implication of the extra downloading has been a severe narrowing of bandwith, making the library service “slower than dial up” said June Phillips.

The library is open 20 hours a week, and people can access the service during library hours even on personal laptops, but they must approach library staff for a time-sensitive password.

“I guess the change must have ticked somebody off,” June Kerr speculated.

By cutting the cables, the vandals caused some damage to computer equipment, and affected operations at the Flinton and Denbigh branches, since all catalogue information for both branches is stored in Flinton. The system is now up and running, and anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Kaladar OPP detachment, which has launched an investigation into the incident. 

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