Each month, Assistant Director Karla Boeddinghaus Umland will be highlighting services offered by Stonington Free Library.
This month, hear from Alyssa Downey, Youth and Adult Services Librarian.
“Checkout” What’s New Here at SFL!
Stonington Free Library is thrilled to announce the addition of a self checkout station, located on the main level of the library.
Patrons simply scan their library cards, or enter their number manually, and then scan the Stonington Free Library barcode inside the books to check them out. Once all books are scanned, patrons have the option to print a receipt with the due dates, email the receipt to their email address on file, or both. Staff are available and happy to assist with using the station if needed!
The self checkout is made possible with an ARPA grant from the Town of Stonington, in order to make library services even more accessible to the public.
We are looking forward to seeing patrons stop in and try it out!
This month, hear from Alyssa Downey, Youth and Adult Services Librarian.
National Library Week April 23-29, 2023
The first National Library Week was created to combat people’s rapidly declining interest in not only purchasing books, but reading all together. It was celebrated in March 1958 with the theme of “Wake Up and Read!” and was greeted with strong, positive reactions. The June 1958 American Library Association bulletin reported that:
- The “favorable climate” created by NLW helped New Jersey’s State Senate to pass a $1.6 million library appropriation, and New York’s legislature approved a $700,000 increase in library aid.
- Dozens of cities formed Friends of the Library groups.
- Local libraries in Brooklyn, New York; North Providence, Rhode Island; Omaha, Nebraska; and Portage, Ohio, used NLW to start fundraising campaigns to purchase materials or restore bookmobile service.
- The library in Bladensburg, Maryland, presented a program with a US Navy rocket expert the day NASA launched its Vanguard rocket.
- Headquarters received “enthusiastic wires from state committee heads,” such as “in Mississippi, enlisting enthusiastic participation from many outstanding leaders formerly passive theoretical supporters of library.”
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the celebration of National Library Week and the theme is There’s More to the Story. It will be celebrated April 23-29 and here at SFL we have some creative ideas for celebrating.
Things you can look forward to during this wonderful week include:
- A photo scavenger hunt
- Blind Date with a book/ Undercover Reading
- Community “fridge” poetry
- Library Spirit Day 4/25 – Dress like a book character
- And lots more!
National Library Week events
- Monday, April 24: State of America’s Libraries Report released.
- Tuesday, April 25: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators, and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.
- Wednesday, April 26: National Library Outreach Day (formerly National Bookmobile Day), a day to celebrate library outreach and the dedicated library professionals who are meeting their patrons where they are.
- Thursday, April 27: Take Action for Libraries Day, a day to rally advocates to support libraries
We cannot wait to see you all in the library!
It’s almost seed season!
Did you know that the best time to start planting many spring vegetables is in March?
Starting on March 15th, SFL will have its seed library back up and ready for you to peruse. Whether you’re in the market for glorious smelling flowers or an abundance of fresh veggies, please stop by, pick up some free seeds and get planting!
For more information on proper planting techniques you can visit Seed Starting Guide: Quick Tips for Starting Seeds Successfully or the Nonfiction Section here at the Stonington Free Library. Just look for the 635 Dewey Decimal code or ask a staff member for help!
Did you know that you can use your library card at any library in Connecticut?
Not only do Stonington residents have access to myriad resources through Stonington Free Library, cardholders can also utilize public libraries throughout the state of Connecticut.
Connecticut residents can use their hometown public library cards at any of the 191 public libraries in the state. In other words, if you have a Stonington Free Library card and you find yourself in New Haven, you can check out a book from the New Haven Free Public Library.
As the Connecticut State Library explains on its website, “borrowIT CT is a cooperative program among public libraries in Connecticut that allows a resident of any town in the state who holds a valid borrower card issued by their home library to use that card to borrow materials from any of the 191 public libraries participating in the program. Using their hometown cards, non-residents may visit any public library and borrow any of the materials that participating libraries lend to their local borrowers.”
While Connecticut does not share a statewide public library catalog system, your library card information can be added to any public library in the state so that you can take advantage of the collections in other towns. Typically, the non-hometown library will need your physical library card. A borrower account will be set up for you using the barcode number on your card. Then you can borrow items from that library on your borrower account.
Not only can you borrow books from other town libraries, you can conveniently return those books at any Connecticut public library. Going back to our example above, when you get back to Stonington, you can return your book from New Haven Free Public Library at Stonington Free Library. A service called deliverIT picks up and delivers library books across the state.
A note: Interlibrary loans are in a different category, and need to be returned at the same library where they are picked up.
Wednesday Knitting Group
On Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., you will often hear vibrant conversation floating through the library. Knitting Group meets at the library once a week and the attendees share expertise on knitting, crochet, and many other topics. In fair weather, you might see the group circled up in lawn chairs on Wadawanuck Square. This open group welcomes all crafters and skill levels. There is no fee, and registration is not required. Simply show up and join the fun. Those who cannot get to the library can also participate through Zoom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom meeting link.
The group will be exhibiting their work in the SFL Stairwell Gallery January 1 — March 31, 2023. Stop by during library hours and enjoy a special showcase of hand crafted works created by the Wednesday Knitting Group.
Free is our middle name.
Visitors to the library have been asking this great question lately: Why is it called Stonington Free Library? What is a “free” library? The answer highlights the unique role that libraries play in the community, and reminds us that access to information is the bedrock value on which public libraries are built. A “free” library denotes a library that is open to the public free of charge, as opposed to traditional libraries that were owned by private individuals or required fees for membership. We are proud that free is our middle name.
Public libraries are a fairly recent idea. Historically, scrolls and books were very expensive. The expense was so prohibitive that only wealthy institutions and individuals could afford to collect them. The Library of Alexandria is a good example. This famous library was established around 300 years before the birth of Christ by King Ptolemy I Soter, who ruled Egypt, and was available only to the scholars who worked for the Alexandrian Museum. For the next 2000 years or so, the word “library” referred to the book collection of a wealthy man, church, or university.
Then, in 1731, Benjamin Franklin established The Library Company of Philadelphia. Although this library was not just for scholars, it was not exactly open to the public either. It was a subscription library, open to members who paid dues. It is still in existence today and its website explains, “members pooled their financial resources so they would be able to afford a larger and finer library than any one of them could have amassed individually.”
After Franklin started this democratization of the library in America, the trend swiftly expanded. The first library in the United States that was both open to the public and free of charge is believed to be the Peterborough Town Library in New Hampshire, founded in 1833. The local minister ”perceived a need for a library open to all and not based on who you knew, how old you were, where you worked, or whether you could afford to access it.”
The founders of the Boston Public Library adapted this idea to a much larger scale in 1848 and after that, many northeastern towns picked up the thread and began establishing free public libraries. The key feature of these new libraries was that members of the public did not have to pay a subscription fee to access the materials. Therefore the word “free” appears in some of the library names. The Free Library of Philadelphia (not to be confused with the The Library Company of Philadelphia) was chartered in 1891.
Significantly, New Haven Free Public Library was established in 1886. Apparently the women of Stonington were inspired by this new public library in Connecticut. The very next year, at a meeting of the Ladies Book Club in Stonington, “a lady spoke of a new plan just undertaken in New Haven to raise money for a local charity. Turning to another guest, she requested him to give her ten cents. That dime began the Stonington Free Library.” To this day, SFL’s collections and programs are available to community members free of charge.
Aside from this auspicious heritage, SFL’s name also keeps us from being confused with Stonington Public Library in Stonington, Maine. Even so, from time to time we receive inquiries about programs in Stonington, Maine or even Stonnington, Australia!
The following books have something in common.
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
- The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
- Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
All of the above are titles that will be discussed at upcoming meetings of the SFL Thursday Afternoon Book Group. The very first meeting of this particular book group took place over five years ago on January 12, 2017. The book that was discussed at that first meeting was I’ll Take you There by Wally Lamb.
Thursday Afternoon Book Group meets the second Thursday of the month at 2:00 p.m. both in person and on Zoom. It is free and open to the public. To learn more about this lively group I interviewed staff member Ivy Burns, who facilitates the monthly SFL book club.
KBU: Approximately how many people attend Thursday Afternoon Book Group?
IHB: Although it hasn’t reached pre-pandemic attendance, it is regaining popularity. There are usually between 4-8 participants and it fluctuates depending on the title and time of year. Even the meetings with smaller attendance are great, because it encourages intimate, robust conversations.
KBU: Does the group focus on a certain genre or theme?
IHB: All books are suggested by members of the group and voted on. Members are encouraged to suggest books that make them think, feel, and want to talk to someone! Because of this, the book group reads a wide variety of titles (fiction, nonfiction, contemporary, and classic) and participants often remark “I never would have picked this up myself; I’m so glad I read it!”
What else would you like people to know about the library book group?
IHB: We try to make the book group as accessible as possible. You can join us in person at the library, or from home via Zoom. I get an ample supply of the books, and the due dates are extended until the next book group meeting so no one has to buy a copy. I also make sure that the titles we choose are available to Stonington residents in ebook or audiobook format. Anyone interested in the book group can contact me at email@example.com with questions, or future suggestions, at any time.
Described by some as the apex of human civilization, interlibrary loan is one of Stonington Free Library’s core services. While we strive to maintain a collection that serves the whole community, space constraints are real. Libraries solve this common problem by cooperating to share materials when they can.
If you are in search of a particular title, there is a good chance that you can find it in our catalog, in our Libby collection, through our Hoopla subscription, or through the Palace Project app. With your Stonington Free Library card, you also have the option of going to any public library in Connecticut and borrowing a physical book directly.
If none of that works, don’t despair! If you have a Stonington Free Library card, you can contact us and let us know the title that you are looking for. We will take down all the particulars and send the request out to a network of libraries around New England. (Sometimes we can even say that Harvard University sent us an interlibrary loan!) Staff member Ivy Burns coordinates the many threads in this process, and works with all of the front desk staff members to handle interlibrary loans.
If a library has the book available, they will respond to the request. Then the book begins its journey. A staff member at the other library removes the book from the shelf and marks it as an interlibrary loan. A special paper routing slip, sometimes called a bookstrap, is attached to the book, directing it to Stonington Free Library. The book is placed in a bin to be picked up by deliverIT CT, Connecticut’s book delivery service. It gets sorted into another bin and rides in a van with a lot of other books. Eventually it arrives on our doorstep. Deliveries can take between one and three weeks to arrive.
Staff members here unpack the bin and match each book with its borrower. Since the visiting book is not in our catalog, we add it temporarily so that we can keep track of it. We affix an updated bookstrap which is the library equivalent of Paddington Bear’s tag: Please look after this [book.] The strap contains all of the information that we need to ensure that we return the book to the correct library.
Once the book is processed, we contact the borrower with the good news that their book is ready to be picked up! It is a satisfying experience for everyone when the book requestor picks up the interlibrary loan and we check it out to their account. It is a happy moment when a person and a book find each other.
After enjoying the book for a three-week loan period, the borrower returns the book-strapped interlibrary loan to Stonington Free Library. The entire process is reversed, and the book travels back to its home library where it is ready for the next borrower.
Our digital library keeps growing! Thanks to the Connecticut State Library, Stonington Free Library patrons can now borrow ebooks and audiobooks from The Palace Project.
What is the Palace Project?
Palace is a free app that allows Stonington Free Library patrons to access free ebooks and audiobooks from the Digital Public Library of America and additional collections.
To access the Palace Project you need an Apple or Android smart device, your library card number and PIN. All materials are automatically returned at the end of the lending period. If a book is checked out, you have the option to put it on hold, just like our physical library!
How to Log-In with Your Library Card
- First, download the Palace app from the Apple App store or Google Play store and open the application.
- Select “Find Your Library” and scroll down to select Stonington Free Library.
- To log in go to “Settings”
- Enter your library card number and PIN, then “Log In”
- This is a one-time process.
- If you need help finding your library card number or PIN, call 860-535-0658 or email the library.
- Select “Catalog” to get back to the books and start checking out titles!
- The next time you open the app, you will be able to view and borrow items without logging in again.
How do I get a library card?
As the popular book character Arthur Read says, “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!”
If you live or have property in the Town of Stonington, including Pawcatuck, Old Mystic, and the Stonington side of Mystic, we are your hometown library! Please come and get a library card with proof of residency (driver’s license, utility bill, lease, etc.). Another option is to sign up for your Stonington Free Library card online HERE.
We also give borrowing privileges to residents of other Connecticut towns and Westerly, RI at no charge. Just bring in your hometown library card, and we can add you to our cardholder system.
If you have been using a partner’s or family member’s card, we invite you to sign up for your own card. It benefits both you and the library! Please use our online form, or come see us at the library, to sign up for your very own card. When you come in, bring along something showing your name and Stonington address.
SFL cards are updated every three years, which helps us to keep your contact information current. If your library card is due for renewal, you can use the online form and choose the option: “Please renew my existing card.” You can also renew your library card by calling or coming to the library. However you choose to renew your card, we will make sure that we have your contact details correct, and give you a new expiration date for your existing card.
Over the last year SFL has dramatically increased its digital library. With your card you have access to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, movies, and more with the apps Libby, Kanopy, and Hoopla. Popular magazines and newspapers are now available through Pressreader. As always, your SFL card allows you to check out books at any library in Connecticut. SFL cards are updated every three years, which helps ensure that we have your current information.
Signing up for a library card also helps us receive funding to provide essential services. The more SFL cardholders there are, the more we can demonstrate the importance of the library in our community.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Adult Summer Library Challenge 2022: Oscar-Worthy Reads
The book may be better than the movie! The SFL Adult Summer Library Challenge features a list of books that were made into, or inspired by, Oscar-winning films. Enjoy these titles as print books, ebooks, or audiobooks. Log your reading/listening in Beanstack to earn badges throughout the challenge. We have also added a couple of fun activities to try as part of this Oscar-worthy challenge.
Registration begins June 20. Adults 18 and over can participate in the challenge from June 20 to August 5, 2022. Each book read or activity completed earns you a chance to win great prizes. Register for the challenge with our easy-to-use Beanstack software. Log your reading and activities online or with the Beanstack app. The more you log, the more entries you get in the prize drawing. Prizes include a tote bag filled with surprise goodies.
Community members tell us that they have a lot of fun participating in our library challenges, and they discover new books and activities to enjoy. Join us this summer for Oscar-Worthy Reads!
Public computers are available
Need to use a computer? Thanks to the Connecticut State Library and American Rescue Plan funding, Stonington Free Library has several new laptops available for public use. The six HP laptops and two Macbooks are available for anyone to use free of charge during library hours. Because we believe in access for all, a library card is not required to use our computers in the library building. We also provide wifi free of charge so that our community members can access the online information and resources that they need. SFL understands that computer and internet access not only provide entertainment, but are also essential for job applications, school work, tax information, telehealth, and so on. To use a library laptop, simply stop by the front desk and ask for one!
Just need to print something? We are here for you. Using the free SFL-Guest wifi, you can print from your own phone, tablet, or laptop for $.25 per page during library hours.
The SFL Seed Library opened for the season on March 15. The Seed Library is organized by URI Master Gardener Noreen Kepple and SFL staff member Ivy Hope Burns. It is 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 seed packets are donated by generous seed companies and are available while supplies last. More of a seed give-away, there is no cost to patrons for the seeds, and no expectation that seeds will be harvested and returned.
The SFL 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking of plants, we now have a Pollinator Observation Kit that can be borrowed with an SFL card in good standing. The kit contains simple tools for observing and recording pollinator activity. Not only is this a fun family activity, it is a great way to participate in citizen science. As defined by the National Geographic Society, citizen science is “the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. Through citizen science, people share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs.” Stonington Free Library is a natural partner in this type of community project.
Gamify your winter reading with Stonington Free Library! Until April 4, adults 18 and over can participate in our Adult Winter Library Challenge. Since reading is about life-long learning, SFL has put together a variety of both books and activities for you to enjoy through the winter season. Each book read or activity completed earns you a chance to win great prizes. Register for the challenge using our easy-to-use Beanstack software. Log your reading and activities online at Beanstack or with the Beanstack app. The more challenge items that you complete, the more entries you get in the prize drawing. Prizes include a tote bag filled with surprise goodies.
Some of the interesting challenge activities include:
- Bake a batch of cookies and share with someone you love.
- Write a brief book review.
- Color a picture of a winter scene. Coloring pages available at the library.
- Read a book about sports.
- Download a book from Libby or Hoopla.
- Read a book from the Staff Picks display at the library.
- Curl up under a blanket and read a book about winter.
- Complete a jigsaw puzzle.
So far, 73 people have signed up for the challenge. They have written 19 book reviews, and the three most popular activities have been: Support a local business, bake a batch of cookies, and read a book of your choosing. There is plenty of time to join the fun before the prize drawing on April 5, so head to stoningtonfreelibrary.beanstack.org and register now.
FEBRUARY 2022 – CHROMEBOOKS
Each month, Assistant Director Karla Boeddinghaus Umland will be highlighting services offered by Stonington Free Library.
We are delighted to introduce a new lending program to help residents connect to school, work, and health resources. The Stonington Free Library Chromebook lending program is a free service that allows Stonington cardholders to check out a Chromebook laptop to use at home, school, or elsewhere.
A Chromebook is a laptop device primarily used to perform tasks online using the Google Chrome browser. When using a Chromebook, applications and data reside in the cloud (online) rather than on the machine itself. The SFL Chromebook lending program is funded by the Emergency Connectivity Fund. Read on for more details about this new community resource.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I connect to the internet using the Chromebook?
- If you do not have access to a wifi network, consider borrowing a wifi hotspot from Stonington Free Library.
Guidelines for Borrowing and Use
- Required: Valid Connecticut library card.
- Borrowers may check out one (1) Chromebook device at a time.
- Borrowers must be over 18 years of age.
- Chromebooks must be checked out and returned in person at Stonington Free Library.
What comes in a Chromebook kit?
- Samsung Chromebook device
- Charging Cable
- FAQ sheet
- Zipper Case
Where can I check out a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are available for checkout at the front desk at Stonington Free Library.
Can I place a hold on a Chromebook device?
We are not able to hold Chromebooks for patrons at this time.
How long can I borrow a Chromebook kit?
You can borrow a Chromebook for two weeks (14 days). Chromebooks may be renewed one time for an additional two weeks.
Is my information saved on the Chromebook?
IMPORTANT – Files are not permanently saved to Chromebooks.
Where should I return a Chromebook Kit?
Please return your Chromebook inside the library at the front desk.
Call 860-535-0658 or email email@example.com for more information.
JANUARY 2022 – eBOOKS
Since ebooks have been in the news lately, we want to remind everyone that Stonington Free Library offers the community a large selection of ebooks and audiobooks that can be downloaded onto personal devices. All of our digital titles are available free of charge to anyone with a Stonington Free Library card in good standing. In order to diversify our digital collection, the library offers a few different platforms. More than just ebooks, our digital library also includes movies, music, and TV shows! We have both children’s and adults’ items in our electronic collection. Additionally, materials are available in Spanish, English, and other world languages.
To access our digital materials, you will need the number on your Stonington Free Library card, a PIN, and a valid email address. If you need assistance or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our trained staff by phone or email. Our digital circulation has grown exponentially during the pandemic. We are delighted to give patrons remote access to library materials seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Visit the Digital Library section of our website to learn more about these free services.
Through Overdrive, the library purchases individual titles that patrons can access on the Libby app. Check out up to ten books at a time. Ebooks and audiobooks can be downloaded to your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. They automatically return after 21 days.
Kanopy offers independent films and documentaries. Kanopy is a video streaming service made available to you for free by Stonington Free Library. To sign up, all you need is your SFL card number and PIN, an email address, and a device that connects to the internet. Watch films on a smartphone, desktop computer, or smart TV.
Stonington Free Library also offers Hoopla, which is a digital media service that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, or phone – and even your TV. Titles can be streamed immediately, or downloaded to phones or tablets for offline enjoyment later.
All of these wonderful digital resources are available because of our supporters. Their generosity allows us to build our collection.
DECEMBER 2021 – A NEW BOOK DROP
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act and the Connecticut State Library, SFL received funding to purchase a new outdoor book return.
You have probably noticed the spiffy new book drop. It is very dark grey in color, with reflective markings featuring the National Library Symbol, the letter “L” stylized to look like a book and reader. It presents a clean and professional image worthy of its setting on Wadawanuck Square.
More importantly, the book return is sturdy and secure. Library materials that are returned in the book drop are protected from the weather and kept under lock and key until library staff empty the bin. With a fresh concrete pad from Cedar Ridge, staff members are able to smoothly roll out the interior bin and transfer books into the library building.
The book drop is open 24/7 so that patrons can return materials any time. Thanks to John Turrentine, the book return is installed near the sidewalk so that it is accessible for walk-up use. For those who are driving, parking is available mere steps away from the book drop.
Our book return receptacle is eligible for ARPA funding because it provides a contact-free way for library users to return materials. Minimizing face-to-face contact is one of the best ways to prevent COVID infections, and we want all of our community members to be safe.
NOVEMBER 2021 – TEXT ALERT
Text alerts are here! Our community members have been requesting a text alert option for library notifications. We are delighted to provide yet another way to make the library easy to use.
There are few things more exciting than receiving the news that the book you can’t wait to read is ready for you at the library. How do you usually get the notification? A phone call? An email? SFL still has those options and now we have added another way to send you the good news. With your current cell phone number, we can send you a text message that says /Arrived Hold/ An item you requested is ready for pickup at Stonington Free Library.
How would you like to be contacted? A friendly SFL staff member will be happy to update your library card account with your contact preferences. Some of the messages that we send out are: friendly reminders about when your books are due, alerts that your reserved books are ready, and automatic renewal updates.
Come in, call, or email during library hours to update your preferences and make sure we have the best contact information for you. In addition to your current name, mailing address, and phone all we need are an email address and cell phone number. For text alerts, we also need the name of your mobile phone service carrier. For example, T-Mobile MMS.
We look forward to connecting with you soon!
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 are available to patrons over 18 years of age and circulate for 14 days. They can be borrowed by patrons with a valid Connecticut library card.
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 by patrons over 18 years of age. 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. Stonington Free Library lends Museum Passes to patrons with valid Connecticut library cards.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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