Promoting Open Access in GTA Public Libraries

Occasionally, I go to the Public Libraries in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) to complete my work.

I do this to make better use of my time while waiting for band practice, or waiting (as a chauffeur) until my daughter has finished her rehearsals or actual performances. Currently, she is performing in a Disney theatrical production of Camp Rock, but I digress…

Normally, public libraries in the GTA provide wireless Internet access. Unfortunately, I have been unable to connect to their wireless systems with my Ubuntu Linux netbook during past visits. When I brought this to the attention of the front staff, they suggest that I “fill out a comment and put it in the complaint box”, or fetch their resident “computer expert”, which in turn, informs me to: “fill out a comment and put it in the complaint box”.

Therefore, this time (before going to the library) I tried a different approach:

  1. I researched and I found a web-site link that solves this particular problem:

    http://torontogeek.com/2010/06/how-to-use-wirelesswifi-at-toronto-public-library-with-linux-debian_ubuntu/

    (Ironically, it requires Internet access to download some applications, but perhaps you can do this now prior to going to the library)

  2. Before leaving for the library, I made several printouts of the solution, which in turn I:
    • Handed to the front staff to inform them that I have already solved the problem, and would like to contribute to make the library more “open”
    • Asked them to give a copy to their “expert”.
    • Stapled another printout to the “comment form”, and stuffed the comment into the “complaint box” (although it is not a complaint)

This procedure also works for access to City of Brampton’s WIFI sites… This is very useful in case you need to work in areas such as community centres. In that way, if the library closes, and you need to work while still waiting to pick up your daughter from rehearsals… >;)

By the way, I have made this post from one of the public libraries in
Brampton, Ontario,
Canada

Enjoying the journey of discovery, and non-conformity…
Murray Saul

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~ by Murray Saul on March 12, 2011.

One Response to “Promoting Open Access in GTA Public Libraries”

  1. Hello Sir (from one of your old student)
    Very interesting and inforamtional message. Since I had the same problem accessing Bramptom’s Public Library from my dual-boot laptop with Fedora. But, fortunately, I have win7 as another os. I’ll try your solution on Fedora, Hopefully I can get access to their wireless next time from Fedora Linux
    Cheers
    Thuan-Hieu

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