Ohio Public Library Information Network
The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) is a compact organization that provides Ohio residents with Internet access to their 251 public libraries. OPLIN also provides Ohioans with free home access to high-quality, subscription research databases.
OPLIN's purpose is to ensure that all Ohioans have equal access to information, regardless of its format or location. This information includes Ohio public library resources; regional, state, and federal resources; and electronic information resources.
OPLIN is an independent agency within the State Library of Ohio.
OPLIN was first conceptualized in 1994, as a group effort of Ohio's public libraries and the Ohio Library Council. Ohio Governor George Voinovich supported the idea in his 1995 State of the State Address, and in June 1995, the organization first appeared in the state budget. OPLIN was officially dedicated by Voinovich on June 12, 1996.
Since 1996, OPLIN has provided Internet access at more than 700 Ohio public library locations in all 88 counties.
In the 2001 Ecom-Ohio report released by Governor Taft's Office, OPLIN was credited with providing 4,478 public access workstations at local public libraries, almost twice as many available from all other state agencies combined. As of 2008, there are approximately 11,000 public computers in Ohio's public libraries.
Up until 2008, OPLIN was re-created every two years in Ohio's biennial budget language. Specifically, OPLIN's governance and budget were defined in separate lines within the State Library of Ohio's budget. OPLIN now exists in permanent law.
Funding & Governance
OPLIN is governed by an eleven-member Board of Trustees, who are appointed by the State Library Board and may serve no more than two consecutive, three-year terms.
Most of the funding for OPLIN comes from the General Revenue Fund (GRF). There is also some "spending authority" budgeted through the OPLIN Technology Fund (Fund 4S4), which allows OPLIN to spend revenue collected from other sources, such as E-Rate refunds from telecommunications companies.
In Fiscal Years 2002, 2003, and 2004, OPLIN funding was temporarily drawn from the Library and Local Government Support Fund (LLGSF) instead of the GRF.
The Ohio Web Library
OPLIN and the other partners in Libraries Connect Ohio (including OhioLINK, INFOhio, and State Library of Ohio) purchase subscription databases and make them available to all Ohio citizens as part of the Ohio Web Library. Using IP recognition, anyone on an Ohio-based computer, whether in a library or at home, has automatic access to these resources. They can also be accessed by anyone using an Ohio public library card.
ExploreOhio is a separate site where OPLIN has accumulated the largest collection of links devoted solely to Ohio-specific websites and online information.
OPLIN’s Find a Library tool allows users to quickly locate and map libraries around the state, or search all Ohio public library websites in one place.
OPLIN hosts the popular online identification tools What Tree Is It?, What’s That Snake?, and What’s the Point?. Other Ohio-related minisites include Evolution of Ohio and Famous Ohioans.
The OPLIN 4cast is a weekly compilation of public library headlines, topics, and trends, published in a blog format.
Ohio Library News is an ongoing record of newspaper or online articles where Ohio public libraries have been mentioned, published in a blog format.
What Does This Mean to Me, Laura is a blog that seeks to break down new technologies for library staff.
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