OCTOBER 2021 – AUTO-RENEWAL
Stonington Free Library aims to make your life easier by automatically renewing the items that you have checked out. Starting today, you will no longer have to remember to renew books from the adult library collection. Fiction, non-fiction, books on CD and large print will automatically be renewed before the due date.
It has become clear how much our community values amenities such as our online reserves, curbside pickup, and fine-free policy. Auto-renewal is yet another step toward making it easy for the community to enjoy the library.
Our library system will attempt to renew your borrowed item two days before the due date. If the item is not eligible for auto renewal, you will continue to receive reminders about due dates or overdue status. You may try to renew manually any time before you return the item. If your item was eligible for renewal, your new due date will be calculated based on the original due date.
If you have opted to receive email notices, you will receive an email saying that your item was automatically renewed. To opt into email notices, please call or email the library and a staff member will update your account.
Here are some frequently asked questions about our new auto-renewal feature.
Are there any exceptions?
Items cannot be renewed if:
- Another patron has requested the item
- The item is classified as a New Book
- The item is a 10-Day loan
- The item is an interlibrary loan, borrowed from another library in Connecticut
- The item has reached its maximum number of 2 renewals
- The account has an outstanding balance for a lost or damaged item
- The item is a digital book, such as an ebook or audiobook
- The item is a DVD or electronic device.
If an item did not automatically renew and I don’t return it on time, are there fines?
No fines are charged for overdue books.
Can I still manually renew materials whenever I want?
Yes, you can renew eligible items via your online account or with a staff member during library hours.
How will I know if my item was renewed?
You can check the due date via your online account or with a staff member during library hours.
Do I have to sign up for automatic renewals?
No. This is an automatic service through your library and requires no sign up on your part.
What if I don’t want the item renewed? Is it optional?
Auto-renewals will occur automatically for any eligible items as long as the library account is in good standing. While you cannot opt out of auto-renewals, you are always welcome to return items prior to the due date.
What will the library do to encourage others to return items?
The library still requires that patrons return items on time and in good shape so that the entire community will benefit. The auto renewal feature will make it easier to be responsible, and for patrons to keep the items they enjoy for longer. Library card accounts with lost or damaged items will be billed for the replacement cost and will be unable to check out or renew items until resolved.
What are the benefits of this feature?
This feature will save you time and give you peace of mind. Automatically renewing ensures that you will have time to return items before they are overdue.
SEPTEMBER 2021 – EXPANDED WIFI
Access for all.
Stonington Free Library recently took another step to provide digital access for all by expanding free WiFi across the exterior of the library building. In April, Stonington Free Library was invited by the Office of Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Education Network (CEN) to participate in the Everyone Learns WiFi Initiative, a program that offers subsidized WiFi service for increased internet access for students and families in our community. The program provided a Cisco Meraki access point installation on the exterior of our building for convenient public access. The program subsidy covers the hardware, installation, licensing, and CEN bandwidth for one year.
Since last November, the program has generated approved installation plans for approximately 125 locations and Stonington Free Library is honored to be selected as a site for increased internet access. Community members can now access free WiFi along the length of our driveway and across portions of Wadawanuck Square. These free WiFi access points allow people to use their smartphones, tablets, and laptops outdoors or in their vehicles. Wadawanuck Square is a popular spot for people of all ages and stages to read, visit, work, and play. Now they can also access the internet at no cost to find the information that they need. Next time you are near the library driveway, connect to “CT Public WiFi” in your WiFi settings and try it out!
AUGUST 2021 – FINE FREE
Access for all.
Did you know that Stonington Free Library is fine-free?
We have waived overdue fines for the duration of the pandemic for adults, and youth cards have been fine-free for several years. Our digital/downloadable materials have always been fine-free. Now we are offering fine freedom for everyone!
Overdue fines are a barrier to large numbers of people, including children, lower-income individuals, and seniors on fixed incomes. Nationwide, including in Connecticut, libraries are going fine-free. Eliminating overdue fees helps public libraries foster equity and promote easy access to lifelong learning for all. In fact, there is growing evidence that eliminating fines increases library usage. According to NPR, “during a 2017 amnesty campaign in San Francisco, the public library recovered nearly 700,000 of its items over six weeks and restored the accounts of more than 5,000 patrons.”
Often when overdue fines accumulate on someone’s card, they simply stop using the library altogether. That is the opposite of what we want. Our goal is that all members of the community can access the library equally. Our community is stronger when all people have access to the programs, services, and materials they need to pursue their educational, career, family, and life goals, regardless of their ability to pay for them.
Some patrons feel that paying overdue fines is a way that they can support the library. We are grateful for the show of support and the good news is that we always accept donations!
Lost or damaged items are in a different category and replacement fees must be paid for those materials.
As a recent article in The Atlantic points out “Public libraries…offer free Wi-Fi access for people and places (especially rural) where it is hard to come by, and in increasing numbers, they find ways to forego monetary fines. These actions shore up in a tangible way a major mission of public libraries: to provide equal access to information and knowledge for all citizens.”
No grudges here – just ACCESS FOR ALL!
JULY 2021 – Stonington Free Library Hotspot Lending Program
The Stonington Free Library hotspot lending program is a free service that allows cardholders to check out a hotspot device and connect to the internet from almost anywhere!
In order to expand internet access to the community, Stonington Free Library has established a Wi-Fi hotspot lending program. The hotspots are funded by a grant from The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. Many thanks to our Development Director Stephanie Calhoun for successfully applying for this grant!
A hotspot is a hand-held device that can be used to connect a wireless-enabled laptop, smartphone or tablet to the internet. Hotspots are portable, so patrons can connect their devices to the internet almost anywhere, for example at home or in a park. Stonington Free Library’s hotspots connect to the 5G network through T-mobile.
Our WiFi hotspot kits can be borrowed for 14 days by anyone with a Stonington Free Library adult library card in good standing.
Discover new treasures or revisit favorites for free or reduced admission with museum passes from Stonington Free Library! The library offers passes to local museums and attractions that can be checked out with your library card. With a valid library card, you can check out a museum pass for two days. Visit the library to borrow a pass. Before visiting a museum, call ahead to verify current hours and policies.
While a lot of museums are featuring virtual exhibits, some are open for in-person visits. Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme features a modern art gallery experience as well as Miss Florence’s historic home and gardens. Krieble Gallery at the museum offers a changing array of inspiring artwork. You can also travel back in time and see where members of the famous Lyme Art Colony lived and worked in the Florence Griswold House. When you borrow a library pass, you are entitled to free admission to the house and gallery for two adults and two children. The museum’s outdoor grounds are free and open to the public. Call ahead to verify the museum’s current hours: 860-434-5542.
In Mystic, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center offers a combination of indoor natural history exhibits and outdoor trails. When you borrow a visitor pass from Stonington Free Library, you are entitled to free admission for up to five people to the indoor nature center and birds of prey enclosure. Call ahead to verify the nature center’s current hours: 860-536-1216. The walking trails at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center are open every day from dawn to dusk, free of charge.
Explore the outdoor zones and world-class exhibits at Mystic Seaport Museum with a pass from the library. Mystic Seaport is home to historic tall ships and a re-created seafaring village. When you borrow a library pass, you are entitled to 50% off admission for two adults and three children. Admission also includes free planetarium shows (on a first-come, first-serve basis). Free parking for Mystic Seaport Museum is available in the lot across the street from the museum entrance. Call ahead to verify the museum’s current hours: 860-572-0711.
MAY 2021 – Library Card Online Holds Service Feature
Did you know that you can access your SFL library card account from the comfort of your home? Using the barcode number on your library card, you can sign in to our online catalog. From there, you can place holds on titles in our collection and renew eligible items that you already have checked out.
- Go to the Stonington Free Library catalog page.
- Look in the top right corner of the screen and click Log In.
- In the box for “Library Card Number or EZ Username” enter the 14-digit number on your library card (no spaces).
- In the box for “PIN or EZ Password” enter the PIN that you created when you signed up for your library card.
- Don’t have a PIN or can’t remember? Call 860-535-0658 and we can help.
- Click “Log In.”
- Now, in the top right corner of the screen you will see your name.
- Click on your name to see what items you have checked out, what items you have placed on hold, and more.
- In the “Loans” section of your account, click on “Renew” to the right of the item’s title.
To place a hold
- Type in the search bar to find an item.
- Click on the title.
- Click the orange “Place Hold” button.
- Click the blue “Submit Hold” button.
- SFL staff will call or email you when your item is ready to be picked up!
APRIL 2021 – SEED LIBRARY
The SFL Seed Library opened for the season on March 16. The Seed Library is organized by URI Master Gardener Noreen Kepple and SFL staff member Ivy Hope Burns. It will be set up on a table inside the library, near the front desk. Community members are welcome to select from a variety of vegetable and flower seeds. The seeds are donated by various companies and are available while supplies last. This year, we ask that patrons thoroughly sanitize their hands before browsing the seed packets. If you prefer to receive seeds in a no-contact manner, call or email the library to request seeds via curbside pick up or postal mail.
The Seed Library is a service we are happy to offer as a way to help community members grow their own gardens at home. For more information, email email@example.com.
Past Articles about the Seed Library
Here is an article by Noreen Kepple from 2017
Belinda mentions the seed library:
MARCH 2021 PUBLIC COMPUTERS
We have several laptops available for patrons to use in the library building. Computer access is free and open to the public. All you need to do is request a laptop at the front desk. Bring the laptop to one of the library tables on the main level. To keep everyone safe, masks and social distancing are required in the building at all times.
Computers are available for 30-minute sessions. If no one is waiting, you may extend your session. When you are finished, leave the laptop on the table. Alert a staff member that the laptop is ready to be disinfected for the next patron.
You can also use your own device to access our WiFi free of charge at any time. You can print from your own phone, tablet, or laptop for $.25 per page when the library is open.
- DIGITAL BOOKS
- MOVIES for KIDS
- PAST THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY PROGRAMS
- PAST SUNDAY EVENING LECTURE SERIES
- BOOK GROUPS
- CRAFT GROUPS
- CHILDREN’S STORIES
- ACCESS to CT DIGITAL ARCHIVE
- ACCESS TO NEWSPAPERS and RESEARCH MATERIAL
- ADULT READING CHALLENGES
- FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S READING CHALLENGES
- ONLINE TECH HELP