Satellite cuts libraries loose

Municipal libraries are no longer as staid as they uses to be. The cliche of a library as a solid, old edifice with acres of card-file catalogues has been replaced with the latest satellite technology.

Today, many libraries are embracing mobile satellite connectivity for their roaming services. This is particularly true in cases where the council is providing a mobile library service to its remote or incapacitated community members.

To be efficient, librarians need online access to the library's central database from any stop along the mobile library's journey.

Until recently, the mobile library could only connect to the central database at limited times and from limited locations.

CalibreNet, a Melbourne-based integrator sourced an appropriate solution by installing a fully automated, NewSat MVS Series satellite dish on the roof of the mobile library vehicles.

As a consequence, at any location in Australia, the librarian can stop, press one button to kick-start the satellite dish, and within five minutes be ready to use high-speed Internet.

The main database can be accessed and updated online, e-mail can be unlimited, as can the size of attachments. Telephone calls can be made easily by VoIP and economically, with all calls to landlines anywhere in Australia charged at 10c per call, untimed.

Leading the charge have been council libraries from as far apart as Mackay in Queensland to the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne, and the regional libraries of Upper Murray, Riverina, Richmond-Tweed and Yarra Plenty. Installations in Clarence and Ipswich take place this month and Bega has just ordered its new mobile library to be commissioned in April, 2007.

CalibreNet managing director Niall Milton first approached the Council and Regional Library Corporations in Victoria, NSW and Queensland in August 2004.

Since then the vehicles equipped with a MVS system, have been showcased to 23 libraries, he said.

NewSat/Multiemedia Founder and CEO, Adrian Ballintine said the upshot is an efficient and effective library service in rural Australia.

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