Frequently Asked Questions about public computers

Can I change the time of a booked session?

You can cancel the session and then make a new booking for another session for the desired time, if available. To view the sessions you have already booked, click on the “My Bookings” tab at the top of the page.

Can I request a specific computer?

Yes. You may select a workstation by conducting a search by PC Type or by Specific PC. Searching by Specific PC allows you to request a specific computer. The system assigns a computer to you based on availability.

Do I have to book in advance to use a computer?

No, our booking system provides the opportunity to reserve in advance; however, as long as you have time available, you can logon to any workstation that is not being used and has not been booked by someone else. There must be at least 10 minutes remaining in a session before the system allows you to use a workstation. Some branches have 15 minute express PCs that allow short-term access to workstations without a booking.

Do I need a Library card to book a Library computer?

Yes, it is necessary to have a valid library card to book a workstation. It is possible to get an “Internet/No Loans” Library card for computer use, if you do not have complete identification or if you are visiting Ottawa. Please visit the Circulation Desk for information on how to obtain a library card.

How far in advance can I book time on a library computer?

You may make a booking today plus 3 days in advance.

How much time can I get on a library computer?

You can have a maximum of 4 hours per day across the library system. Please note that some branches must cap the daily usage at 2 or 3 hours per day due to high demand. Remaining time can be used at another branch.

How will I know when my session is over?

You will receive two warning messages, one at six minutes and one at two minutes, before the end of your session. N.B.: Please save your work to a diskette or a flash drive. You can also save your work on the computer’s workspace and then e-mail it to yourself.

If I finish my session early, what should I do?

If you finish your session early, logout in order to protect your privacy and to save your time. Maximize the “Library Online” window and click on the "Logout" button. The “Library Online” window is located in the lower left corner of the screen.

Is the library using this system to record my actions on the Internet?

No. The system does not monitor nor record the Internet sites visited. The system only provides a mechanism to monitor the amount of time used each day by library patrons.

What are the filtering options?

Internet access for children under 17 years of age defaults to filtered access only, unless otherwise approved by a parent or a guardian. This means that Internet access to subject categories such as gambling, and websites that contain hate literature, extreme violence and explicit sexual content are blocked. (For more information see the library's Public Network Access Policy.) By default, adults have unfiltered Internet access; however, adults may change their setting to filtered.

What does the online booking system do?

This system currently lets you reserve time on library computers at the Ottawa Public Library, and helps to ensure that all persons have fair access to the library's computing resources. It controls the length of sessions.

What happens if the Library's Internet connection is lost due to machine/network difficulties?

You may lose your scheduled booking sessions for the day if the PC is broken or if the Library’s network is down. If the Library’s network is down you will still be able to use most of the applications on the PC you have booked. If you have time remaining, you may be able to book a later session once the Internet becomes available again.

What if I am early for my booking?

Pending workstation availability, you can log on early to the workstation you have booked. If it is 10 minutes before the next booking, the system will not allow you to log on. If you have a later reservation and do not have adequate time for both sessions, you will be asked by the system to first cancel your later reservation. You will then be able to proceed.

What if I arrive late or miss my booked session?

You must log on within the first 5 minutes of your scheduled booking or the booking will be cancelled. The cancelled time (5 minutes) will still be deducted from your daily maximum.

What if I have to temporarily leave the computer?

If you have to temporarily leave your booked computer you may place your computer on hold for up to 10 minutes. Only you may log back into the computer during those 10 minutes. To place your computer on hold, return to the Application Selection box and click the “On Hold” button. The PC will shut down, so remember to first save your work The “On Hold” feature is offered only if you have at least 10 minutes of your session remaining.

What if I logout by mistake and am not really done?

Depending on workstation availability, if you logged in with your Library card number, and still have time available, you will be able to log back in with your Library barcode and PIN.

Why do I get an "Invalid card number or PIN" message when I try to log on?

You may have incorrectly typed your Library barcode number or your Library card could be expired. Note: it is necessary to have a valid 14-digit library card starting with the numbers 22950, and a PIN (personal identification number). Your PIN is usually the last 4 digits of your phone number. Ensure that the Num Lock key (on the keyboard) is on before entering your Library card number. If you still get an "Invalid card number or PIN" message, please talk to Library staff.