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Reserve a Computer FAQ

This FAQ is specific to the reservation software installed at Mill Valley Public Library. The Help screen within the software itself is somewhat general in order to apply to all participating MARINet libraries.

Why is the Library using a computer reservation system?
How does reservation software work?
Am I required to have a Library card?
How do I get a Library card?
What if I don't qualify for a Library card?
Can visitors who don't have a Library card use the Library's computers?
What is a PIN?
If I have fines on my Library card can I still use the Internet?
Is this software installed on all Library computers?
If I just walk into the Library, can I still get on the Internet?
What kind of computer access can I reserve?
How much time do I get on the computer?
Can I make multiple reservations at once?
How far in advance can I reserve a computer?
Can I request a specific computer?
What if I show up early?
What if I show up late?
What if I don't show up at all?
Can I cancel my reservation without losing daily time?
When does my time start and stop?
Can I get up and go to other places in the Library during my session without being logged out?
What happens if I walk away from a session without logging out?
How will I know when my session is ending?
If I finish my session early, what should I do?
What if I log out by mistake or the computer crashes and I'm not finished?
When I logged in, the computer indicated that I only had a few minutes available. Why don't I have more time?
Why do I get an "invalid card number" message when I try to log in?
How will the Library protect my privacy?

Why is the Library using a computer reservation system?
The Internet has proven to be an incredibly popular resource. In order for Mill Valley Public Library to give every patron equal access to its computers, computer reservation software is used to make computers available to more people. (top)

How does the computer reservation software work?
The software lets you reserve up to 90 minutes per day of computer time. It also controls the length of sessions so that when you arrive for your reserved time, you can be sure a computer will be available for you. Computer users will be able to reserve a PC online from home, school, work, or while in the Library. The software will allow patrons to reserve computers at other participating libraries, as well. (top)

Am I required to have a Library card?
Yes. All patrons, including children, who wish to use the Library's computers are required to have a current Library card and PIN. (top)

How do I get a Library card?
Fill out an application online or at the circulation desk. You need to bring photo ID and proof of your current local address. There is no charge to obtain a Library card. Read more about Library cards . (top)

What if I don't qualify for a Library card?
Residents who don't qualify for a Library card can obtain an "Internet only" Library card. Patrons must present some form of ID at the circulation desk. (top)

Can visitors who don't have a Library card use the Library's computers?
Yes. Patrons who are just visiting can obtain a one-time-use Internet pass at the reference desk. (top)

What is a PIN?
A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a password that you assign yourself. A PIN allows you to use a computer and much much more, including access your Library record for renewals, holds, etc. Assign your PIN now. (top)

If I have fines on my Library card can I still use the Internet?
Yes. Library fines do not affect Internet privileges. (top)

Is reservation software installed on all Library computers?
No. It is not installed on computers with catalog access only. (top)

If I just walk into the Library, can I still get on the Internet?
Yes. As long as you have your Library card (so you can log in using your barcode and PIN), and as long as there are available computers. (top)

What kind of computer access can I reserve?
The Library offers computers with Internet access, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Google Earth, and Picassa. 45 minutes stations offer CD recording, USB access, and media card readers. (top)

How much time do I get on the computer?
Each user is allotted 90 minutes of computer time per day. When you reserve a computer, you must choose a 15-minute station, a 45-minute station.  There is no guarantee of 90 minutes of use per day per person. Unused time does not carry over to the next day. (top)

Can I make multiple reservations at once?
No. The reservation system does not allow concurrent reservations. You can make multiplereservations for future use up to seven days in advance as long as they are 24 hours apart. Once you have completed the first scheduled use, you can make another reservation. (top)

How far in advance can I reserve a computer?
You may reserve a computer for today or up to seven days in advance. (top)

Can I request a specific computer?
Yes. The "Search by Specific Computer" option allows you to request a specific computer, such as one with a USB drive, etc. (top)

What if I show up early?
You can log in early to another computer and be given the choice of switching your reservation. Be advised that your session time may be affected if the computer you are on has an impending reservation. (top)

What if I show up late?
The system allows a 10-minute grace period on all stations. If you do not sign in within that time, the computer you have reserved becomes available to other users and the length of the grace period will be deducted from your daily allotment of computer time. (top)

What if I don't show up at all?
The length of the grace period will be deducted from your daily allotment of computer time. (top)

Can I cancel my reservation without losing daily time?
If you cancel a reservation before the reservation begins, no daily time is lost. If you end a session early, only the time actually used is subtracted from your daily allotment. (top)

When does my time start and stop?
If you have a reservation, the time starts when the reservation is scheduled. If you walk up to a workstation and begin to use it without a reservation (because the computer is free), the time begins then. You can stay on the computer until the reservation time runs out, or until someone's prior reservation begins, whichever comes first. (top)

Can I get up and go to other places in the Library during my session without being logged out?
Yes. You can select the "lock" feature, which will give you 10 minutes away from the computer. You must log in again when you come back to the computer. (top)

What happens if I walk away from a session without logging out?
Your session will continue until you log out. To protect your privacy, always log out completely. (top)

How will I know when my session is ending?
The system will issue on-screen warnings before the end of the session. If there is not another reservation after you the computer will allow you to extend your time in 15-minute intervals. When the session is over, the system automatically logs out. (top)

If I finish my session early, what should I do?
Close all programs and log out completely to end your session.  (top)

What if I log out early by mistake or the computer crashes and I'm not finished?
If you still have time available in your daily 90-minute allotment, you will be able to log back in and finish your session. (top)

When I logged in, the computer indicated that I only had a few minutes available. Why don't I have more time?
This means one of two things: either the computer you have logged onto is reserved for another patron in a few minutes, or you have already used your allotted two hours for the day. (top)

Why do I get an "invalid card number" message when I try to log in?
This is most likely due to a typing error in the barcode number and/or PIN. If you try again and still get the message, ask for assistance at the reference desk. (top)

How will the Library protect my privacy?
There are a number of things that we encourage you to do to ensure your privacy such as: create a secure PIN (use a minimum of 6 characters, which should be a combination of letters, numbers, and punctuation), use the lock mode when you leave the station for any reason, and log out completely after each session. The computers automatically delete any saved files and any record of the sites you visit when you log out. It's very important that you log out completely when you have finished a session. In addition, patron records remain confidential under state law. (top)
Last updated: 8/19/2009 12:06:19 PM