Network Under Construction

December 24, 2009

Library patrons have seen an improvement of the network speed due to hardware improvements and the addition of five T1 lines. These are short-term, immediate measures to provide relief to the high demand while we wait for a major restructuring and upgrading of our network.

On October 22, The Joint Powers Authority approved a transfer of $578,000 from fund balance to the current year’s operating budget for the assessment, redesign, and installation of infrastructure hardware and software. This investment will upgrade the Library’s wired and wireless networks to fiber to meet current and growing service demands.

Information Systems staff for the County of Santa Clara are working with the Library’s staff on network design. We are currently waiting for AT&T to schedule an installation date for the fiber lines.

Popularity of Library Computers is Overwhelming Capacity

Sept. 4, 2009 -- For the past few weeks, patrons of Santa Clara County Library have noticed increased slowness in the Library’s computer network. The surging popularity of the Library during the economic downturn and the start of school is overwhelming the capacity of the Library’s computer network system.

“We are on a six-month plan to upgrade and reconfigure our network to better meet the demand for service by residents,” explained Santa Clara County Librarian Melinda Cervantes. “We hope that there will be incremental improvements in network performance in the coming weeks. This is our top technical priority.”

Library users count on the computer network to search the catalog, access online databases, apply for jobs, download books and music, receive one-on-one tutoring help, ask librarians reference questions, and explore the Internet at computer stations in the Library. Thousands of Library patrons access online services from home and work as well as from hundreds of computers in the libraries in Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and Saratoga.

“We just don’t have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate the amount of traffic, especially graphical traffic, on our computer network,” Cervantes added. “As a result, the slowness tends to occur during peak periods when the Library is busiest.”

Cervantes said the Library’s Information Systems staff is working with their counterparts in the County and an external network assessment consulting firm to identify and fix the problems. The solution will involve multiple phases that need to be done one step at a time, with testing along the way. There is no evidence of a virus on the network – just too much demand for too little resource.

“There is not one simple fix to the slowness problem,” she said. “We hope that the public will be patient and understanding about the situation.”

Santa Clara County Library has more than a quarter of a million cardholders who last year checked more than 11 million items. The Library website counts 3,139,991 visitors, an increase of 31% over the prior year. The Library has 360 public computers.

Updates about the network will be added to this page periodically.