Other Services

OPLIN provides a wide variety of additional, Internet-related services to Ohio public libraries.

Dynamic Website Kits

Website Kit Handout (PDF)101.55 KB
Website Kit Brochure (PDF)622.95 KB

Website Kits logo


 Are you thinking of upgrading your library's website?

Read Web Kit testimonials here

Is your library ready to replace its outdated site with something that:

  • Looks more professional?
  • Is easier to manage and doesn't require a tech?
  • Meets current standards for handicapped accessibility?
  • Displays clearly across mobile devices?
  • Provides advanced Web 2.0 features and integration with many social media web sites?
  • Presents your library to your community as a strong, credible institution?

OPLIN is pleased to offer Ohio's public libraries Dynamic Website Kits, a new service that provides all of these features and more at a modest cost.  We understand that, in these budget-strapped times, it is more important than ever for public libraries to show their communities that they are vital and trustworthy institutions that can provide the same advanced features as other kinds of sites.  We also know that library staff have even less time to manage their websites.  OPLIN's Dynamic Website Kits offer a host of options for little investment of time and funds. 

Download the Website Kit handout for additional information.


Why would your library want an OPLIN Dynamic Website Kit?

  • The kit includes a full content management system (CMS).  This means that library staff can control the entire content of the site without needing anyone to change back end code.  It's as simple as writing an email or filling out an online form!  Create new pages with a few clicks.  Post news stories to your front page with no technical knowledge required. The Dynamic Website Kit makes managing your library's web site simple...finally!
  • It's Web 2.0 ready.  Want an RSS feed?  Discussion forums?  Polls?  Basic blogs?  Comments?  The ability to share content out easily with Facebook and Twitter?  All of these are featured in the basic, fixed-cost package and many social media add-ons are also available for a small cost.
  • More advanced features.  The kit also provides:
    • Built-in site search AND the ability to search your library's catalog AND the Ohio Web Library;
    • Ability to moderate comments (if your library chooses to have comments);
    • Ability to categorize your content easily by keywords;
    • An online contact form that can send to different email addresses, depending on the subject matter;
    • A Word-like WYSIWYG editor for entering your content, so you don't have to know any code to put your items online;
    • Function to upload and attach documents like PDFs to specific web pages;
    • Automatically generated printer-friendly pages;
    • A version of the site that is mobile-device friendly;
    • A calendar and event listing system;
    • Online photo albums, with easy uploading capability;
    • A basic web analytics package to help your library see how your site is being used by its visitors.
  • We do the upgrades for you. Don't have a tech?  No worries!  OPLIN not only hosts your site, but we do all of the required upgrades as needed to the site's systems.
  • We do the graphics work for you.  Each basic kit includes: (Additional custom work can be arranged for an additional cost. Please contact OPLIN for details.)
  • Meets basic web accessibility standards. Website kits typically meet basic standards for Section 508. (Some third-party widgets and/or custom scripting requests may not be able to meet these standards.)
  • Free training.  We provide up to 3 hours of free, hands-on training for at least one staff person at the OPLIN office.  We also provide some documentation and additional phone support.  Additional training for up to 20 people on-site at your library is also available; please inquire for pricing.
  • Free guidance during the design process.  Our professionally-certified web designer staff will help you with incorporating basic usability and good design principles.
  • No tech required.  OPLIN does the installation, the design, the configuration and the hosting.  All your library has to do is plug in its content.
  • Lots of options.  For a small fee, many useful add-ons are available for your Kit.  You can see some samples here.


OPLIN's pricing is modest.  Our goal is to provide Ohio's public libraries with websites that can better meet the needs of both patrons and staff and be competitive in the rapidly-evolving environment of the World Wide Web.  The cost of your Dynamic Website Kit will be $795 for initial setup (original design and up to two revisions). Annual maintenance and upgrades cost $340 per year. (Please note:  Due to the extensive extra time it takes to create designs that render legibly in the Internet Explorer 9 browser, design support for this legacy version of Internet Explorer is an additional $300 flat charge.  As of January 1, 2014, OPLIN will not support versions 6, 7 or 8 of Internet Explorer. Additionally, we will not do any compatibility work on a site, to render in legacy versions of Internet Explorer, after any design work has been performed. Version 10 is not affected by this.) Please see the list, above, for a description of all the features included in a standard Website Kit. Limited customization and graphic design service is also available; please call toll-free 1-888-96-OPLIN (1-888-966-7546) for pricing. For information about more extensive customization, including using designs not created by OPLIN, see the "Custom Websites for Libraries" link,  below.


As you might suspect, completion time varies depending on the specifications laid out during the planning stage. Don't hesitate to call us for further discussion of what a timeline for your library's site might be. But we're ready to get rolling with your library's site!

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of Dynamic Website Kits during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding State of Ohio holidays. Contact us through the OPLIN Support site.
  • Incident Resolution: OPLIN staff will attempt to resolve every Dynamic Website Kits malfunction within 4 business hours of Incident Response.


Who hosts the website?

We host your website on the OPLIN web servers. That allows us to keep all the software that runs the site up-to-date and secure. Our hosting service includes:

  • Firewall to protect the site against intrusion
  • Regular upgrades to software used to maintain and publish the site
  • Upgrades to server hardware when advantageous
  • Retaining current web site domain name
  • Pro-active fixes for network, system and software vulnerabilities
  • Mirroring of server hard drives to allow quick recovery from hardware failures
  • Problem resolution through the OPLIN Support Center

Will the web address of my website change?

No. When your site is ready, we will replace your current site at the same address. So if your current site address is mylibrary.org, your new site address will also be mylibrary.org.

How will I know how to use the website?

We ask each library that uses one of our websites to send some selected staff to our office in Columbus for two or three hours of training. The next step is for you to begin adding content to your site before it goes "live" on the Internet. Throughout this process we are available to assist you. Finally, when you are confident that your site is ready and you know how to keep it current, we launch it.

What if I have problems later?

Contact us (http://support.oplin.org) and we will work with you to resolve the problem.

What is usability and why does it matter?

The most basic definition of web site usability is whether or not users can quickly accomplish a given task on a website without obstacles.  Obstacles can be long download times, scattered navigation, poor design, dated styles and many more issues, all of which can affect how users access your site and/or perceive your library.

Many of the web sites developed by public libraries do not adhere to web design standards or best practices. When Laura Solomon did a study (PDF) of Ohio public library websites in 2004, she found that only 17% of Ohio libraries met more than 80% of accepted criteria for usability. As new devices for accessing the Internet, such as the iPhone and other such smartphones, become more prevalent, it will become ever more critical for public libraries to have well-designed and mobile web sites. OPLIN can help by fulfilling an original purpose – enabling libraries to compete with other Internet information providers – in a new way, focusing on building good library web sites as well as building good library Internet connections.

Dynamic Website Kits--Selected Portfolio

Click the red star icons & numbers on the map to see websites for all current Website Kit clients



Auglaize County Libraries

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Mechanicsburg Public Library

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Ashtabula County District Library

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Monroeville Public Library

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Ida Rupp Public Library

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Bossard Memorial Library

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Burton Public Library

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Brown Memorial Public Library

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East Palestine Memorial Public Library

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Licking County Library System

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Oak Harbor Public Library

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Website Kit documentation

Documentation for Website Kits using Drupal 6http://www.oplin.org/webkitdoc/indexNEW.html

Documentation for Website Kits using Drupal 7http://www.oplin.org/webkitdoc/v7/index.html

How do you decide what side block graphics get added to a site?

We only require one side block, and that's the KnowItNow block of services (you can see an example on Perry County District Library's site). For the rest, we work with your library to determine what is needed and what will work best. We're pretty flexible!

What is a favicon?

A favicon (a mishmosh of “favorite” and “icon”) is a small icon that shows up in the address bar of your browser when you visit a site, and it also shows up in your list of favorites/bookmarks when you bookmark a site. It makes your site easier to find in a bookmark list, if it has its own special icon. Learn more at Wikipedia.

What is the rotating ad banner at the footer that shows databases?

This is a free feature included in all OPLIN Dynamic Website Kits. In the Kits, this banner ad for the Ohio Web Library databases will pull directly from the OPLIN servers; this means that we'll update it for you periodically with additions/deletions to the database collection. The banner will change approximately 1x/week.

What does "uploading files for staff" mean?

This means that your staff will be able to upload (for example) a PDF document that will be attached to a particular web page in your library's site. For instance, you could attach a PDF version of an event flyer to the calendar listing of the event. Keep in mind that this is an attachment; it works just like with email. So the content of your attachment will not show up inline with the other web site text; rather, it will show up as a link that the visitor will click at the bottom of the page content.

Custom Websites for Libraries

The OPLIN Dynamic Website Kits depend on a standardized software installation and design template that allows us to keep the cost low. We do offer limited customization, but some changes "break" our standardized model. For example:

  • in-house changes that break W3C standards compliance;
  • changes that require modifications to a standard Drupal module or the Drupal code;
  • changes that require any special server configuration; and
  • changes that require custom scripting that accesses web resources outside of OPLIN's control.

When a library customer requests such changes, we suggest that it consult with an outside vendor.  OPLIN is not able to accommodate these types of development needs.

Working with third-party designs

When a library requests that OPLIN use a design created by the library or by an outside designer/vendor, the implementation is charged at the hourly rate and as an additional fee.  While we will implement outsourced designs, they typically increase work time in constructing custom CSS files, re-working graphics to work with the Drupal theme template and communications required between OPLIN and the third-party designer.  Please note that, as of March 2013, additional charges will also be included for the construction of a mobile-only site. Designs created by OPLIN use RWD (Responsive Web Design), which does not require a separate mobile-only site to work on different devices. OPLIN will not use RWD with designs done by outside designers.

"Kit & Caboodle" newsletter (2009-2012)

OPLIN provides this helpful newsletter on a semi-regular basis to its Webkit customers.  All are in PDF format.

Fall 2012:  Replace that tacky clip art; Is it time to redesign your site?  Is your site readable? Please stop screaming; wrapping text around images.

Summer 2012:  Are your navigational terms clear?, new file browser coming, Focus On:  Findlay-Hancock County Public Library, purge those side blocks that look like ads, how to re-order front page stories.

Winter/Spring 2012:  Spring cleaning checklist for your library's website, new calendar system coming, Focus On:  Germantown Public Library, re-thinking your library's staff directory, why you might be having attachment problems.

Fall 2011:  Making sure you use alternative text tags, cleaning up your library's side blocks, Stop using exclamation points, improving site usability by not using "click here," , why underlining is problematic on the Web.

Summer 2011:  Making your lists meaningful, (Another) important note about IE9, Focus On:  Williams County Public Library, Stop using all caps, getting a photo album

Winter 2011:  Putting colors together, An important note about IE9, Focus on:  Cuyahoga Falls Library, Get rid of the exclamation points, What's that "Access Denied" message?

Fall 2010:  Quick Tips, Stop putting out the welcome mat, Focus On:  Tuscarawas County Public Library, ALT tags, Can calendars be color-coded?

Summer 2010:  Quick Tips, Make your links jump off the page, Optimizing your images, Writing better FAQs, Adding visitor comments

Winter 2010:  Quick Tips, Labeling PDFs, Better blogging, Avoiding library jargon, Adding modules after initial construction

Fall 2009:  Quick Tips, Consistency matters, Writing for the Web, Creating headlines that get attention, Categorizing events

Summer 2009:  Quick Tips, Making your site more professional-looking, Re-evaluating web graphics, Why OPLIN upgrades Web Kits so often, Why you can't underline text with the Web Kit editor, Additional resources


How to make your website process easier


How to Make Your Website Process Easier
  1. Ditch “design by committee.” As tempting as it is to have a team of some sort, in our experience, this almost always leads to either delays and/or disasters. You can never make everyone happy! Feel free to gather your staff’s input prior to your first phone call with Laura, but we strongly recommend that only 1-2 (MAYBE 3) people from your library should be involved in the actual phone conference. Because it is difficult to please everyone, typical Web Kit projects that are managed by committees tend not to only run longer, but can be more expensive because of constant revisions. To save your library time and money, designate 1-2 people to be in charge of the process and who can step in to make a decision as needed.
  2. Remind your staff who the site is for. In our experience, library staff doesn’t always recognize that the primary (and only) audience for a public website is the public! Attempts to include resources specifically for the reference desk or to organize content just so it’s easier for the staff will generally be opposed by OPLIN. Remind your staff, when seeking input, that patrons not only come first, but are the entire audience for your new site.
  3. Filter the input from your staff. If you are collecting suggestions from your staff, please filter the list (or have your designated liason/leader do so) to just those things that are things you would actually consider. For example, if a staff person suggests that the site should primarily be orange and the library’s branding scheme is primarily blue, remove this from the list. It will save a great deal of time for everyone involved.
  4. Changes to an approved site architecture will cost money.  The site architecture is typically the first step in planning your new Website Kit. Once your library has signed off on that, any changes will incur additional charges, at the custom work rate.  Keep this in mind when you are looking at the first design draft; changes to the top level navigation or side blocks, for instance, after the approval was already signed, will increase your library's cost.  This is why it is important to make sure you're happy with the architecture, before you sign it.
  5. Remember that your library gets three (3)  design drafts—total. Although this is almost always mentioned in the initial call with OPLIN (and is on our website, too), it’s worth mentioning again. As part of the standard Website Kit, your library gets 3 design drafts—total. Beyond that, the custom rate is charged per hour of work. Asking for a sample website in your color scheme will be counted as one of the drafts, as will any tweaks requiring the creation of a new image. If you’re not sure what will be counted, please ask! We’d much rather save you the money.
  6. Outside design work is charged at the hourly rate.  Please remember that,  if OPLIN does not do the design, it is considered to be custom work and will be charged at the hourly rate for implementation and as an additional fee.  While we will implement outsourced (or library in-house) designs, they typically increase work time in constructing custom CSS files, re-working graphics to work with the Drupal theme template and communications required between OPLIN and the third-party designer. 
  7. Don’t use print copies of the design drafts to make decisions.   When you get a design prototype from OPLIN, it can be very tempting to print it out to show to other staff. However, most printers automatically scale things to fit the paper. This means that you will not see it in the same way you will see it on a computer monitor. Be sure to pull up the .jpg OPLIN sends you in a browser so you can see it on your monitor!
  8. Understand that part of OPLIN’s job is to educate. We focus strongly on current best practices in usability and accessibility, as well as site navigation and site design. If we veto something, we’ll always explain WHY and often provide you with third-party resources where you can learn more about current standards.  



  • "I also want to take a minute to thank you for all your help with this website.  You have taken a big portion of my job and turned it from drudgery to so much fun!   I also don't have to spend enormous amounts of time editing and messing around with a nasty, cantankerous dinosaur anymore. ...I have to say that I'm extremely excited about the new site.  It makes me feel good.  It's simple, clear, concise, has all the necessary info and is really easy and fun to learn and work with!"--Grafton-Midview Public Library
  • "We're looking forward to having a more responsive site for our library and community.  Your help has been appreciated."--Milton-Union Public Library
  • We are so pleased with how smooth the website transition has gone! We really haven't had any significant difficulties today. Yay! Thanks so much for all your work and such prompt responses to everything that has come up."--Orrville Public Library
  • “ OPLIN WEBKITS ROCK!”— Granville Public Library
  • "I have just been visiting Web sites of a number of libraries across the country. It just reinforces what a great job you did on our new Web site. It looks beautiful, it reflects the atmosphere of our community, and it functions well. (And it doesn’t take 15 minutes for people to find our phone number!)"--Wright Memorial Public Library
  • "The work estimate is right on target.”— Marion Public Library
  • "I'm very happy that you're doing this project, and I know our web site will be much better for having your expertise."--Cuyahoga Falls Library
  • "BULLSEYE!  I love it, Laura!" & "By the way, the dynamic webkit was the best thing we ever did! Just love our site. Thank you. --"Tuscarawas County Public Library
  • "It looks wonderful!!!"--Logan-Hocking County District Library
  • "Love it…perfect…"--Harbor-Topky Memorial Library



Website Kits in progress

More than 70 Ohio public libraries currently have OPLIN Dynamic Website Kits.  You can see the current map at http://www.oplin.org/portfolio.

The following libraries are currently under construction:  (Last updated 7/27/15)

  • Coshocton Public Library
  • Norwalk Public Library


OPLIN Dynamic Website Kit Style Guide

Please refer to this when creating graphics and text content for your library's website.  It is a succinct collection of best practices for your site, many of which also have links to additional information about each.

Website Kit Style Guide

Technology Information

OPLIN provides information about technology and trends through many different communication tools, including:

Also see the OPLIN reports and the special information items listed below.


State Library Social Media Listings

The State Library of Ohio compiled their own listing of social media sites of Ohio libraries in February 2010.


Sending Notifications to Cell Phones

OPLIN offers a free service that allows libraries to send notification messages directly to patrons' cellphones via standard Short Message Service (SMS) "text messages" instead of sending messages to their email accounts.

NOTE that you can only use this service to send individual messages to individual people. Because there are strict laws regulating the sending of a "blast" message to a group of phones simultaneously, you cannot use the OPLIN SMS service for such messages.



  • Your existing Integrated Library System (ILS) must be capable of sending notifications to patrons' email addresses.
  • You must inform OPLIN of the IP address of the server (usually your ILS server) that sends your email notifications.


To use the service, you should ask a patron if they wish to receive messages by cell phone instead of by email; their normal text messaging charges will apply. (There is no cost to the library.)

If they want cell phone messages, you will enter their email address in your ILS as <cellphone_number>@sms.oplin.org.


If the patron wishes to receive notifications at their cell phone number 614-123-4567, then you would put
in the email field of their patron record. Notifications will now be sent to their cell phone rather than to their normal email address.

If you would like notices of errors and patron STOP requests via email, please let us know which email address the messages should go to.

By default nothing is done with patron replies. To change this let us know which email address you would like the replies forwarded to, or provide us with a message you'd rather be texted back to the patron.

The OPLIN SMS system accepts notices 24 hours a day, but only sends text messages between 9 AM and 9 PM. This is to allow libraries to continue sending email notices in the middle of the night, without possibly waking up patrons who keep their phones on the night stand.

Message format

All notifications sent to patrons' cell phones will be limited to 152 characters, which is the maximum length of a single text message, so your standard notification language must include all important information (library name, phone number, etc.) within those 152 characters.

The OPLIN SMS system uses *** as its delimiter to determine what text from your regular email messages will be sent to people's cell phones.

  • If you send an email to the system and no occurrence of *** is found, the system will discard the email.
  • If you send an email with one occurrence of *** the system uses that as the beginning of your 152 character message.
  • If the system finds two or more occurrences of *** it uses whatever you have between the first pair as your text message, taking the first 152 characters of that snippet.
Good examples of notices we've seen:

This is a reminder from the UAPL that 1 item(s) will soon be due. Please return or renew them by their due date. Visit www.ualibrary.org for more information.
You have items ready to pick up at the Lane Libraries.
Your hold is available from the Lakewood Public Library. It will be held for 10 days. Call 216-226-8275 for more information.

The Microsoft SMTP daemon typically uses an encoding for plain text that can cause "=" to appear at the end of lines. The OPLIN SMS system automatically strips those unwanted characters from your message.

The system also strips out any carriage returns or new-line codes that may be embedded in your message, so your message is formatted for optimum cell phone display.

The system automatically handles any base64 encoded email.

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of sending notifications to cell phones during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding State of Ohio holidays; contact us through the OPLIN Support site.
  • Incident Resolution: OPLIN staff will either resolve the incident within 4 business hours or will open an incident ticket with the messaging vendor(s) and work collaboratively toward resolving the incident within the timeframe specified in the vendor's agreed service objective.


Contact OPLIN Support (http://support.oplin.org).


Public Library Data Center

Each year, public libraries are asked to fill out various data surveys, such as the one just announced by the State Library. OPLIN has also asked libraries to complete a "Connectivity Survey" each August. These surveys are essential for long-term planning, especially when government funding may be involved.
OPLIN has worked with the State Library of Ohio to open an online library "data center" where libraries can store and retrieve some of the most commonly requested data. This data center serves a somewhat different function from the State Library survey. For libraries, it provides a place where you can store, update, and retrieve data about your library, and other public libraries, at any time. (The current data we have from libraries is already stored there.) For statewide organizations working on behalf of public libraries, it provides a place where we can quickly retrieve as-reported data that is more current -- but less accurate and detailed -- than the data that is eventually published by the State Library following an extensive process of editing and vetting.
The library data center replaces the annual OPLIN Connectivity Survey. Instead, we will ask libraries to make sure their statistical data is up-to-date in the data center only when we know that OPLIN (or OLC, or the State Library) is going to have a specific need for the data.
So how do you use the data center?
2) The first time you use the data center, you will need to click on the "I forgot my password" link and enter the library director's email address. Your password will be sent to the director's email.
2a) Once you have the password, go to http://oplin.org/datacenter, enter the library director's email address and the password.
3) After you've logged in, you'll see a menu for entering/editing various kinds of data about your library, or for retrieving data about any library.
Please give the data center a try. We think you'll find that it is a quick, easy tool for handling your statistical data.

E-Rate Information and Training

Did you know that every public library is eligible to receive E-rate money? At the very least, by filling out a few forms you can get as much as a 90% discount on your telephone bills!

The telephone companies and the federal government collect this money from every telephone customer, but unless you ask for it, this money just sits in Washington.

NOTE: For information about 2014 E-Rate changes, see http://oplin.org/eratechanges

Because it is so important that libraries claim their E-rate money, OPLIN supports workshops on E-rate for public libraries each fall. The workshops are presented by Lorrie Germann, State E-rate Coordinator. Lorrie is also available to answer individual questions from public libraries about E-rate issues. You may contact Lorrie at 740-253-1153 or lorrie.germann@gmail.com


E-Rate Technology Planning

Any public library filing for Priority 2 E-rate discounts must have an approved technology plan. In Ohio, Mandy Knapp, Library Consultant–Technology is the person who approves these plans.

Mandy recommends that libraries use TechAtlas when creating their technology plans; WebJunction Ohio has a set of slides illustrating E-Rate Technology Planning with TechAtlas. She highly recommends that all public libraries write a technology plan even if one is not required for E-rate purposes. If you have questions about technology planning or your Plan, Mandy can be reached at (614) 466-1710, (800) 686-1532 or aknapp@library.ohio.gov.


E-Rate changes FAQ

The following information was prepared by Mandy Knapp, State Library of Ohio.

What's E-Rate?

E-Rate, or Universal Services Schools and Libraries program, is a discount set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) that schools and public libraries receive on telecommunications, internet and internals connections. Depending on a library's organizational structure the director, the fiscal officer and the IT staff may be involved in E-Rate filing.

What's happened?

On Friday, July 11, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make significant changes to the E-Rate Program. The Order maintains E-Rate's current budget and makes available additional funds to support Wi-Fi over the next two years. The program will phase out support for non-broadband services and voice services, such as pagers and phones, in order to use those funds for broadband services.

What does the FCC mean by broadband services?

The FCC is focusing services eligible for Category 2 (also known as Priority 2) reimbursement on broadband service. This includes routers, switches, wireless access points, internal cabling, racks, wireless controller systems, firewall services, uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) and software supporting those components. It also includes equipment that combines functionality such as routing and switching. Further, managed Wi-Fi support and equipment that supports caching or caching functionality is also included. A full list of eligible services will be made available in the fall.

What is included in managed Wi-Fi?

Eligible managed Wi-Fi expenses include the management and operation of the LAN/WLAN, including installation, activation, and initial configuration of eligible components, and on-site training on the use of eligible equipment.

What does the FCC mean by non-broadband services and voice services?

Voice services includes all costs incurred for the provision of telephone service and circuit capacity dedicated to providing voice services including: local phone service, long distance service, plain old telephone service (POTS), 800 services, Centrex, wireless telephone service and interconnected VOIP.

Non-broadband services include paging and other services that may use broadband but do not provide it such as email, text messaging, voicemail and web hosting.

When is the phase out of non-broadband services happening?

Beginning in E-Rate fiscal year 2015, the FCC will no longer provide E-Rate funding for paging, email, voice mail and web hosting and other services that are not related to providing broadband. Applicants may continue to seek funding for individual data plans and air cards but only when they can demonstrate that that is the most cost-effective way to connect library locations to the Internet.

In addition, the FCC will reduce funding for voice support in each E-Rate fiscal year by subtracting the discount rate applicants receive for voice services by 20 percent in each funding year. In E-Rate fiscal year 2015, the discounts applicants receive for voice services will be reduced by 20% from their discounts rates for other eligible services. In E-Rate fiscal year 2016, the discounts applicants receive for voice services will be reduced by 40% from their discounts rates for other eligible services.

After the first two years of the phase down of non-broadband service, the Bureau will issue a report evaluating the impact of the reduction in support for voice services. If the FCC takes no further action, the voice services phase down will continue.

E-Rate Fiscal Year (FY)

Calendar Dates of FY

Phased out


July 1 2015-June 30 2016

Voice services reduced by 20%; No funding for email, voice mail, web hosting and other non-broadband services.


July 1 2016-June 30 2017

Voice services reduced by 40%


July 1 2017-June 30 2018

Voice services reduced by 60%


July 1 2018-June 30 2019

Voice services reduced by 80%

My library's budget depends on the E-Rate reimbursement for telephone service. What can we do to plan for the phase out voice services?

Although costs and quality will vary by service provider, generally Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) telephone service is less costly than POTS (regular telephone service). If your library's budget depends on E-Rate reimbursement for telephone service, you may want to consider moving to a VOIP system.

At my library system's branches, broadband needs are very small. Are there any changes that affect it?

The FCC has created an exemption to the competitive bidding rules for Internet access services that offer at least 100 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream and have a pre-E-Rate discount price of $3,600 or less annually. This $3,600 annual limit is the pre-discount amount per library branch. For example a library system with three library branches could qualify for this exemption if it purchased 100 Mbps and 20 Mbps upstream internet access services for each of its three branches at a cost of $250 per month per branch.

How is the funding for Wi-Fi calculated?

Funding for Wi-Fi for most public libraries is calculated at $2.30 per square foot or a floor for libraries at or below 4000 square feet of $9,200. This means that if a library is smaller than 4000 square feet, the library would apply for Wi-Fi funding at the same level as a 4000 square foot library. If a library serves a population of more than 250,000 in an urban or suburban area or a population of less than 250,000 but more than 100,000 in an urban area, the calculation is $5.00 per square foot. Note that the definition is per library location, not per library system. This is a new model that the FCC will be testing for the next two years.

If my library is planning to upgrade our Wi-Fi, is it best to plan this to happen in the next two years?

If a Wi-Fi upgrade in E-Rate fiscal year 2015 or 2016 makes sense to your library, you might want to ask for the funding in those funding years since a new vote by the FCC commissioners would be required after fiscal year 2016 to allocate funding for Wi-Fi specifically.

Are technology plans still required to be filed with the State Library of Ohio?

No, certified technology plans are no longer required for E-Rate funding. However, the State Library of Ohio encourages libraries to have a technology plan either in addition to or integrated in to an overall strategic plan. Consultants at the State Library are happy to assist you in future technology planning or to provide feedback on an existing technology plan. Contact Mandy Knapp (aknapp@library.ohio.gov) for more information.

Other important updates include:

  • A simplified process for multi-year contracts of 5 years or less.
  • Required electronic filing.
  • Clarification on consortium purchasing.
  • Waiver requests available for internet connections between schools and libraries.

I'm overwhelmed by these changes. How can I get assistance?

This year, because of these changes, OPLIN and State Library are planning to do many more E-Rate workshops in locations around the state and are also looking into improving online delivery of the workshops. As in previous years, Lorrie Germann, state E-Rate Coordinator will be the presenter. For details, including registration, see http://oplin.org/go/erateworkshops.

Sample CIPA review questions

Form 486 includes certifications on technology plans and CIPA compliance, and may be subjected to random Form 486 reviews. CIPA reviews are apparently done on a non-random basis triggered by specific CIPA concerns. The questions asked by USAC in a CIPA review serve as a useful reminder of the types of documentation applicants should retain to prove CIPA compliance if asked. The following is an example of a USAC CIPA compliance review [cf. http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step06/cipa.aspx]:

Listed below are the three requirements that all applicants must meet in order to be considered CIPA compliant. Please answer the following questions.

Technology Protection Measure (Filter)

A technology protection measure is a specific technology that blocks or filters Internet access. It must protect against access by adults and minors to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or — with respect to use of computers with Internet access by minors — harmful to minors. It may be disabled for adults engaged in bona fide research or other lawful purposes. For schools, the policy must also include monitoring the online activities of minors.

Do you have a technology protection measure in place?  Yes____ No____

If Yes, please provide documentation that demonstrates you have a specific technology protection measure in place for FY 20xx that blocks or filters Internet access (e.g., invoice for Internet filtering services, work orders showing when the filter was installed or will be installed, and/or a report demonstrating the web sites that have been filtered, etc.).

Public Notice and Hearing

CIPA requires that a school or library must provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing to address a proposed technology protection measure and Internet safety policy.

1. Public Notice

  • Have you provided reasonable public notice to address a proposed technology protection measure and Internet safety policy?

Yes_____     No________

  • If Yes, list the date(s) in month/year format when you provided THE FIRST reasonable public notice to address your technology protection measure and Internet safety policy.

Date that reasonable Public Notice was first given: ________

  • Please provide supporting documentation for the public notice requirement (e.g. newspaper references, web site references, letters to the public etc.).

2. Public Hearing

  • Have you held at least one public hearing to address a proposed technology protection measure and Internet safety policy?

Yes _____  No _____

  • If Yes, list the date(s) in month/year format when you held THE FIRST public hearing to address a proposed technology protection measure and Internet safety policy.

Date that the first Public Hearing was held: _________

  • Please provide supporting documentation for the public hearing requirement (e.g. School Board letter or agenda, School Board meeting minutes etc.)

Internet Safety Policy

An Internet Safety policy must address the following issues:

  • Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and World Wide Web
  • The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications
  • Unauthorized access including "hacking" and other unlawful activities by minors online
  • Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors
  • Measures designed to restrict minors' access to materials harmful to minors
  • Monitoring the online activities of minors and must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyber bullying awareness and response

Did you have an Internet Safety Policy in place?  Yes ____  No ____

If Yes, please provide:

  • The date in month/year format that the policy was first established: _________
  • A copy of your Internet Safety policy.


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OPLIN listservs

OPLIN hosts a number of listservs, which can be accessed at lists.oplin.org. The most popular listservs are listed at the bottom of this page – click on the list name for more information.

OPLINLIST and OPLINTECH are also searchable using standard Internet search engines. Using Google, for example, add site:lists.oplin.org after your search term.

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of the listservs during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding State of Ohio holidays. Contact us through the OPLIN Support site.
  • Incident Resolution: OPLIN staff will attempt to resolve every listserv malfunction within 4 business hours of Incident Response.

OPLIN also provides libraries with two publications dedicated to Ohio government news, which are distributed through listservs: The Hannah Report, and the Gongwer Ohio Report. Email the OPLIN Director to have your address added to these lists.


How can I subscribe (or unsubscribe) to one of the OPLIN e-lists?

OPLIN public email lists can be found at http://lists.oplin.org. From here you can subscribe or unsubscribe to a particular list, and access list archives and rosters of subscribers.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, simply click on the list which interests you. On the next page, follow the instructions to subscribe to your selected list. You will need to enter a password to create and manage your list subscriptions.

Can OPLIN host an e-list for my library?

Yes. See the current policy at http://www.oplin.org/content/policy-regard-library-e-list-hosting-service.

I am trying to send an attachment to the members of OPLINLIST or OPLINTECH, but they never receive it. What's wrong?

To help prevent the spread of viruses and worms, messages to the list are limited to 2 MB (2,000 KB) in size. Some attachments are larger than that, so the messages will be blocked. However, you can still send attachments directly to individual email addresses.



Guidelines for OPLIN Email Lists

This is the policy currently in effect governing OPLIN e-lists:

OPLIN E-List Guidelines

In carrying out is mission, OPLIN provides a number of e-lists. All OPLIN e-lists are subject to the following guidelines:

  • Each e-list has its own topic focus and scope. Postings should be limited to topics within the scope of the list.
  • There can be no solicitation on OPLIN e-lists. The exception to this guideline is the posting of training, workshops, seminars, and so on designed for the staff or trustees of public libraries for which a fee is charged. Such postings are encouraged.
  • Campaign material for elections of any kind (local, state, federal, professional, or other organizational) shall not be posted to any of the e-lists.
  • Material about local practice that may be of general interest to the library community is frequently a beneficial topic. However, the OPLINList is not an appropriate forum for discussing the details of a dispute that is internal to any library system. Information about internal disputes is not permitted.
  • Items posted to a e-list are not normally removed from the archive. However, when a poster contacts OPLIN and indicates that a posting was made in error, it will be removed. Items posted in violation of these guidelines will also be removed.
  • Specific e-lists are subject to some limitations in the scope of discussion and/or in subscription. They are as follows:

    Subscription: Open to anyone interested in Ohio public libraries.
    Who may post: All subscribers. Postings from non-subscribers are moderated and reviewed for appropriateness.
    Scope: Any topic of broad general interest to the staff or trustees of Ohio public libraries. The OPLINList is a professional tool and should be used for topics of professional interest.

    Subscription: Library directors and one other contact; others upon request.
    Who may post: Only OPLIN staff. There is no comment or discussion.
    Scope: Limited to announcements from OPLIN staff.

    Subscription: Open to any technology managers, specialists, and consultants in public libraries.
    Who may post: All subscribers.
    Scope: Limited to discussion of network, library applications, and other library-related technology issues.

    Single Purpose Lists
    Subscription: Limited to members of working groups or committees. Examples are the Teen Editorial Advisory and Statewide Delivery groups.
    Who may post: Limited to the working topic.

Approved by the OPLIN Board of Trustees, November 9, 2001




OPLINUPDATES is an email list used by the OPLIN office to announce news about new OPLIN services and important changes to existing OPLIN services.


At least every library director and one other staff person should be subscribed to this list, but we encourage everyone to subscribe. There is absolutely no better way to keep up with OPLIN news. Since it's an announcement-only list, and only the OPLIN office can post to the list, it won't put anything but important messages in your e-mail inbox.



  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplinupdates.
  • Follow the instructions under the heading "Subscribing to OPLINUPDATES." You will enter your e-mail address and password to manage your subscription.
  • You will be sent an e-mail confirming your subscription request. Simply reply to the e-mail and your subscription will be activated.


  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplinupdates.
  • At the bottom of the page, enter your e-mail address and click the Edit Options button.
  • You will need your list password to unsubscribe. If you have forgotten it, click the Email My Password To Me button.
  • Enter your password under the heading "Unsubscribing from OPLINUPDATES."

List Settings

All subscription settings can be managed from the list's information pages.

  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplinupdates.
  • At the bottom of the information page, enter your e-mail address and click the Edit Options button
  • You can change any subscription options; enter your password, and click the Submit My Changes button



OPLINLIST - the email list for all non-technical OPLIN discussions

WHAT? The OPLINLIST is an online discussion of any and all non-technical topics related to OPLIN or Ohio libraries and the Internet. While the list will be unmoderated, OPLIN staff will be reading the postings and will respond to the list or the poster as appropriate.

OPLINLIST is a discussion group that takes place online through the use of Internet email. For example, if you wanted to ask all other Ohio public libraries a question, you would create a typical Internet email message with your question typed in as the body of the message. The "To:" address would be oplinlist@lists.oplin.org). Once you send your message, a copy goes to every subscriber on the list. So, if the list has 2,000 subscribers, the one email message you created will be seen and read by 2,000 individuals. If any of these subscribers want to respond, they can post their response to the list where it will be seen and read by all 2,000 subscribers...including you!


Anyone who works in or does business with Ohio libraries is welcome to subscribe.


  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplinlist.
  • Follow the instructions under the heading "Subscribing to OPLINLIST." You will enter your email address and password to manage your subscription.
  • You will be sent an email confirming your subscription request. Simply reply to the email and your subscription will be activated.


  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplinlist.
  • At the bottom of the page, enter your email address and click the Edit Options button.
  • You will need your list password to unsubscribe. If you have forgotten it, click the "Email My Password To Me" button
  • Enter your password under the heading "Unsubscribing from OPLINLIST."

To post a message to OPLINLIST:


The best way of answering the question "When should I use OPLINLIST?" is by thinking about those times when this wouldn't be the best solution:

  1. A question that needs to be answered by the OPLIN Executive Director or OPLIN Managing Editor is best handled by contacting them directly.
  2. If you have questions about using a specific OPLIN service (your Internet connection, the reference databases, OPLIN webMAIL, etc.), call the OPLIN Help Desk at 1-888-96-OPLIN (1-888-966-7546).
  3. If you have a technical question, consider joining the OPLINTECH listserv.

If one of the above options doesn't provide a better alternative, then post your question to OPLINLIST.

List Settings

All subscription settings can be managed from the list's information pages.

  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplinlist.
  • At the bottom of the information page, enter your email address and click the Edit Options button.
  • You can change any subscription options; enter your password, and click the Submit My Changes button.


OPLINTECH - the email list for all technical OPLIN discussions


The OPLINTECH e-list is an online discussion of any and all technical topics related to OPLIN or Ohio libraries and the Internet. Only subscribed members of the list can submit postings.


Anyone with Internet email and an interest in technical discussions related to OPLIN is encouraged to subscribe.



  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplintech.
  • Follow the instructions under the heading "Subscribing to OPLINTECH." You will enter your email address and password to manage your subscription.
  • You will be sent an email confirming your subscription request. Simply reply to the email and your subscription will be activated.


  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplintech.
  • At the bottom of the page, enter your email address and click the Edit Options button.
  • You will need your list password to unsubscribe. If you have forgotten it, click the Email My Password To Me button.
  • Enter your password under the heading "Unsubscribing from OPLINTECH."

To post a message to OPLINTECH: * Send an email message to: oplintech@lists.oplin.org


Whenever an OPLIN technical issue needs discussion, clarification, advice, input, etc., use the OPLINTECH list to reach your peers in the Ohio public library community.

List Settings

All subscription settings can be managed from the list's information pages.

  • Go to the web page http://lists.oplin.org/mailman/listinfo/oplintech.
  • At the bottom of the information page, enter your email address and click the Edit Options button.
  • You can change any subscription options; enter your password, and click the Submit My Changes button.

Presentations and Handouts

All OPLIN PowerPoint presentations are also available at: