There is one word that makes a librarian especially happy, and yesterday it was said again and again. “Neutrality” was the word of the day, as the Federal Communications Commission agreed to recognize Internet infrastructure as a public utility. This is exciting news. It has been an issue for over 10 years, starting in 2005 when the FCC voted to reclassify DSL broadband service, away from being an “information service” to instead be called a “telecommunications service,” effectively allowing Internet service providers to hide their infrastructure allowing it to be riddled with unfair practices.
But yesterday’s decision ensures that access to the Internet will be based on fair and equitable practices. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says: “the landmark open-Internet protections that we adopted today should reassure consumers, innovators and financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.”
Did you know that the Library has resources for learning online?
Lynda.com is an online learning site that helps people to learn a variety of skills, from software development to business marketing. It has a library of over 1,000 courses, appropriate for all levels of experience. The site contains video instruction on topics like SEO, flash photography, cloud computing, accounting, business intelligence, and DSLR video. The courses cover technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies, and more. Users are granted a 2 week pass to the website to follow as many courses as desired within that time frame, and you can renew your subscription to complete a course by signing up for another pass. To gain access, please fill out this form on the Maine State Library website.
Another option for users is the resources on the Learning Express Library. This resource has information on basic computer and Internet skills, as well as more college prep courses—SAT, ACT, PSAT, and admissions essay assistance. There is an adult learning center to help improve math, reading, and grammatical skills; a career center for occupational exam preparation and job skill assessment; a college center for math, reading, science and writing; information in Spanish, and much more.
In addition to these online tools, the Public Computing department has resumed Friday tutoring hours, for individual assistance with computer issues. You can call to make a half hour appointment, 207-871-1700, extension 708. Basic computing, and intermediate computer skills classes will return in January 2015.
Privacy is one of the main tenets of public libraries, so the recently exposed security concerns for patrons using Adobe Digital Editions to access library eBooks is very troubling to us at PPL.
You can read more about the developments here and here, but in short, if you are using the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions software, information about any eBooks on your computer delivered in the ePub format is being transmitted to Adobe in plain text format and is potentially visible to anyone who can read the stream of data.
NOTE: PPL’s eBook service is provided by Overdrive. Read below OverDrive’s statement about Adobe Digital Editions privacy concerns
UPDATE: 2:30 PM 10/10/14
In response to concerns expressed by our library partners about the Adobe privacy situation, OverDrive CEO Steve Potash met with Adobe management at Frankfurt Book Fair today. Adobe reported that next week they will release an update to Adobe Digital Editions 4 to address the known issues.
To clarify, this affects only Adobe Digital Editions 4 for Windows and Mac. Adobe reports that the issue does not affect third party apps in any way, including the OverDrive app. Adobe reports that the issue is not present with Adobe Digital Editions 3 or previous versions of Adobe Digital Editions.
If you are concerned about your eBook privacy, we recommend that you uninstall Adobe Digital Editions version 4 from all of your devices immediately. You can still read eBook content online, or contact the library for print options. The Kindle app for accessing the Amazon format of eBooks is available to mobile and tablet users, and materials read directly through the Overdrive app are excluded from this breach of privacy.
We have expressed our dismay to our eBook provider, and have asked them to advocate for the principles of privacy that libraries are pledged to uphold. We are committed to challenging anyone who confuses “privacy policies” with “invasive policies.” Please contact the library if you have any additional questions or concerns about this issue.