The year 2011, like years past, was a busy one for LION tech staff. With the addition of the LEAP Libraries we now have 30 buildings plus the LION office and 2 bookmobiles to take care of. These building contain over 800 PC’s for Public Internet and Staff. Each building has a router for CEN which must be maintained, plus the vast majorities have either an additional DSL line or Cable Internet for Public Internet. Throw in wireless routers and Time and Print Management Systems and you have a lot of equipment to be maintained. Not to mention the iii, E-Mail, SPAM, and Web servers. I think it’s fair to say we have been a little busy this year.
Below are a re few of the highlights of this past year.
LEAP Libraries Join LION:
The year 2011 saw LION grow with the addition of the LEAP Libraries. I spent part of the spring surveying their building trying to get an understanding of how they currently were doing things and how to make the transition to LION as painless as possible.
I had to order new RLAN DSL circuits from AT&T, and work with the CEN to get the new circuits mapped properly to LION.
I am proud to say that on June 9th 2011, I was able to get all 6 of the LEAP libraries and branches moved over to the LION network. I visited each library and updated the router configuration and then worked with CEN to get them moved over to our network one at a time.
I was able to get all of them up and running by 5pm. I consider this no small feat to get them all done in one day.
Some of the other stuff involved with getting LEAP on LION also involved creating e-mails for those who wanted them. I actually purchased a new domain on behalf of West Haven so they could have their e-mail and web site on a domain of their choosing. In the time since then, I have also created e-mail domains for Durham and Branford, durhamlibrary.org and blackstonelibrary.org.
I have also helped West Haven get their Cassie reservation system working at their 2 branches even though the main server is located in the main branch. A little bit of network voodoo to get each branch to see the main one. They also have a bookmobile which can access
LION via a VPN connection the same as Meriden does.
CEN Fiber Optic Cable Installations:
Last fall LION received word that the Connecticut Education Network had been the recipient of a 94 million dollar grant from the Recovery Act Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. As a result of this grant, several of the LION Libraries are to get high speed Fiber Optic cables installed in their building which will allow for high speed Internet replacing either the DSL or Frame Relay connections they currently have.
East Lyme Public Library, Edward Smith Library, Rathbun Free Memorial Library, and the LION Headquarters were all selected to have 100 megabit fiber service. Additionally, Otis Library was later added to the list.
I spent part of the year going to each of these locations and taking pictures of the infrastructure, i.e. telecomm closets, utility poles, etc, and sent them off to the CEN.
After reviewing the photos, someone from Fibertech went out to each location for further evaluation. I met with the various Fibertech people at each site and showed them the building, telecomm closets, where the utilities come into the building, etc.
So far, East Lyme Public Library has had their fiber cable installed but is not operational as CEN is still building out the HUB for that area of the state. Rathbun has had a new conduit installed underground from the pole across the street to the building. The fiber is scheduled to be installed in March of 2012. Fibertech has to bring the fiber all the way from Colchester for them. The rest of the libraries are scheduled for Spring/Summer of 2012.
One bad piece of news that I was officially notified by CEN just the other day, is the LION Headquarters will not be able to get the Fiber installed. There are no underground conduits available for lease from AT&T for the fiber cable and they cannot add any new conduits across Main Street. Middletown has a moratorium on digging up Main Street for 5 years and this is only year one. CEN has also notified me that they may not be able to provide us the bandwidth necessary for growth that will be needed in the coming years because of the high price of the OPT-E-MAN connection we currently have. As they provide us with more bandwidth from AT&T, the price goes up. At a certain point it is unsustainable for them to continue paying the price hence the reason they wanted to provide us with their own fiber network.
I have several ideas on how to alleviate the problem of our bandwidth limitations which I will be discussing with CEN in the coming days and months.
New SPAM Filter:
In the fall of 2011, LION’s Barracuda SPAM filter died. I tried several different freeware solutions to save LION money but in the end none of them measured up to what we had. As of this writing, I have ordered a new Barracuda SPAM filter which is expected to arrive Friday Dec 9th, 2011. As you read this it is should be up and running. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused while I searched for an alternative to the Barracuda.
ENVISIONWARE Print/Time Management Install:
I spent a couple weeks this fall installing a new Envisionware Time/Print Management System for Woodbridge. This replaced their ALPS Reservation System. This was the first Envisionware System that I have installed so it was an enlightening experience. Since there are several LION libraries that have Envisionware currently installed, it is good that I know how it works so that Matt is not the only one who can help if one of them has a problem.
I am scheduled to install 19 new LION owned DELL PC’s for this fiscal year. What this really means is installing new PC’s and the redeploying the existing ones that were replaced. In many cases the libraries order more for themselves at the same time so the number increases dramatically. One library which I will be doing shortly ordered an addition 10 PC’s on top of the 4 from LION plus 4 laptops. That library alone is 18 so when all is said and done that 19 I was scheduled to install is probably closer to 50 when you take into account all the redeploys.
Routine Repairs and Duties:
Much of the time we spent this past year, as with every year, was doing routine repairs of PC’s. There was a pretty big amount of PC’s that got infected with Malware this year. When you think about the fact that we have approximately 800+ PC’s (about 1/3 of those are 7 year old IBM’s) out at the field and it’s only Matt and myself, it’s pretty amazing that we have time for anything else. Things like fixing barcode readers, printers, receipt printers, and just about anything you can name that can attach to a PC. Fixing or installing Reservation and Print Management Systems. Fixing or installing wireless routers. With the coming of the Kindle, some libraries discovered they had such old wireless routers that the Kindle would not work with it so they had to upgrade. I could go on and on. Needless to say we are very busy and yet somehow we get it done.
I have no doubt next year will present its challenges and rewards just like years past and I look forward to working with all of you to provide the best possible experience for your staff and patrons.
Rick Widlansky, Systems Manager