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 It's So Easy
A lot of our readers use libraries as their primary source for getting on line to either surf the web or get email. We hadn't used it much because we had been lucky enough to either have modems available at campgrounds or good cell coverage so I could use my phone connected to the lap top to get mail. And until we quit saving emails for our Letters and/or Coffee Break sections it was easier to use my own computer.

Just recently while we were in Vermont (with poor cell coverage and campgrounds with poor set ups for getting email) I happened to discover the joy of libraries; it happened quite easily. We were walking around Middlebury, Vermont, and noticed their big, beautiful, library. We went in and I asked if I could go on line. I was given a disk which allowed me to use one of their many computers for one half hour. I read and answered email, checked a few of my favorite web sites while Ron read The Wall Street Journal. What a treat!!! It was really better than using my own computer because they have direct fast access in a comfortable setting. When I use modems in campgrounds they discourage our being on long enough to surf the web; we download email and get off. In the library I had plenty of time to do all I wanted to do.

We used to get questions all the time about how to get email while on the road. It doesn't matter which provider you use (AOL, Earthlink, MSN, or dozens of others) they all have their own web site where you can sign in then type your user name and password then look at, answer and send email. It is as simple as that. The library will be missing one thing though and that is the address book that is on your home computer. You should have on hand your personal email addresses if you plan to write email other than ones you will answer. Our new email address at Yahoo is easy to use because I just go to my yahoo then type in my user name and password. When it comes up I see the page I set up at Yahoo which has the articles I like to read, the weather reports I like to see and so on. There in the library I feel quite at home. Many different web search engines offer personalized home pages which you can access anywhere. 

You don't have to have a library card to use the libraries and you don't have to be staying in the town where the library is located. We were just driving around one day and stopped for lunch in a charming little town. We happened to park in front of the library so after lunch I went in and used their computer while Ron read the paper. Every library we have been in so far has been very friendly and there has been no waiting to get on a computer. 

While in St. Johnsbury (northeastern Vermont) we came upon a most beautiful library. The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is more than a library. It is a private, non profit public library and art gallery named for Athena, the goddess of wisdom and art. A National Historic Landmark, the Athenaeum has served as a center of culture for 130 years. It is home to a permanent collection of over 100 19th century paintings. The Athenaeum is the legacy of the Fairbanks family of St. Johnsbury, inventors and manufacturers of the world's first platform scale. With his wealth Horace Fiarbanks assembled works of art including copies of the old masters and created the center. 
After I got email, Ron and I viewed all of the beautiful paintings in the art gallery and we had a nice little talk with the library director, Lisa von Kann who told us that the library will be closing in October for nearly a year so that the plumbing and heating can be upgraded. The books will be moved to a building nearby but the paintings will not be available for the period of time that the building is closed. If you are in the area next year, take a peek at this warm, friendly library. I especially loved the spiral staircases (upper right picture). 
Even if a campground has a modem, I plan to search out the neighborhood libraries and use them often. Many who are on the road tell us that they only get email either on their computers or with Pocketmail and never bother with the web. How sad; the library is just down the street and a great resource for lots of things. Just do it: it's so easy.

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