Services oplin Wed, 03/05/2008 - 13:04

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


Internet hedgesst Tue, 08/16/2011 - 10:23

OPLIN (Ohio Public Library Information Network) provides Internet services to the public library systems of Ohio. For the most part, we provide one broadband connection to the main library of each system, and access to the commodity Internet for any public library which routes Internet-bound traffic through our network core in Columbus, Ohio. While OPLIN also provides some other services to libraries, none of them are possible without our dependable, robust, broadband network connections.

One of the unusual characteristics of OPLIN is the fact that it provides and manages this physical network connecting libraries to the Internet; most other library “information networks” primarily deliver content and services over a physical network provided by some other organization. When OPLIN was established in 1995-96, the network was built from copper-wire ‘T1’ circuits. In 2006, fiber-optic ‘Ethernet’ circuits began replacing the older T1 circuits.

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of Internet connections 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. After-hours support is provided 24/7/365 through the Ohio Office of Information Technology (OIT): AFTER HOURS NUMBER FOR NETWORK OUTAGES ONLY, 614-644-6860.
  • Incident Resolution: OPLIN staff and/or OIT staff will open an incident ticket with the telecommunications vendor(s) and will work collaboratively toward resolving the incident within 4 hours.


How does OPLIN decide how much bandwidth my library will get?

We try to buy circuits big enough so every OPLIN participant has an Internet connection that is large enough to insure that the participant's average circuit utilization does not exceed 70% during peak hours.

Does our library have to go through OPLIN for network services?

No. Libraries can purchase network services from any vendor. However, since OPLIN offers a free connection between each library system and the Internet, OPLIN network service is almost always the best deal.

Does my library have to go through OPLIN to get network connections for branches?

No. We recommend you first contact your local telephone company and any nearby cable or wireless providers for their circuit rates. We also offer the option to go through our state contracts (at discounted rates) for library branch connection circuits. Each library must decide the best compromise of quality, price, and performance to meet their needs. The OPLIN Support Center will be happy to review any plans provided by local vendors and give advice.

Does OPLIN provide any help with network planning?

To help you keep up with the network demands of your libraries, OPLIN staff can prepare bandwidth usage reports and a review of options available through the State of Ohio. Contact the OPLIN Support Center for more information.

How far in advance do I need to contact the OPLIN Support Center if my library needs to get a new circuit or move an existing circuit?

We recommend that you contact the OPLIN Support Center for information and costs prior to placing any circuit request, and we also recommend that you place your circuit request at least ninety (90) days before your library needs to have the circuit installed or removed.


Network Testing Service

Network Testing Service hedgesst Fri, 08/09/2013 - 14:43

While OPLIN's responsibility for Internet connection management ends with the OPLIN router placed at the library end of OPLIN-provided circuits, it is not uncommon for libraries to have internal network issues that affect the throughput capacity of their Internet connection. These problems sometimes come to light in conversations with libraries or in the course of monitoring OPLIN network performance, and over the years OPLIN staff have more and more frequently assisted local library IT staff with some problem solving. OPLIN wants to be sure local libraries are able to take full advantage of the bandwidth OPLIN provides to them.

In April 2013, the OPLIN Board expressed an interest in formalizing this practice and providing free network testing for libraries that seem to be having internal network problems. This document provides a description of this new OPLIN service.

When will local network testing be provided?

The need for network testing will be identified by contact with local library IT staff who report slow network response time while OPLIN monitoring tools indicate that a significant portion of the OPLIN-provided bandwidth is not being used. OPLIN staff may also identify a potential problem based on the characteristics of the data flow over the library's OPLIN circuit, and then initiate contact with local library IT staff. In either case, once the library has agreed to allow OPLIN testing of their internal network, OPLIN staff will perform the testing within two months.

What will the network testing provide?

OPLIN will provide local library IT staff and/or consultants with data about their internal network and help them interpret the meaning of the data. This data will consist of:

  • A diagram or description of the topology of the high-level network devices in the library that connect to the OPLIN router
  • The bandwidth throughput from:
    • the OPLIN router to the OPLIN core at the SOCC
    • the internal library network to the OPLIN router

With the possible exception of simple physical changes, OPLIN staff will not take action to remedy any identified problems; that responsibility remains with the library IT staff and/or consultants.

How will the network testing be done?

OPLIN staff will travel to the library where the OPLIN router is located and use various software and hardware tools to test the network and gather data. This will involve connecting computers to the OPLIN router and to various points in the internal library network. It will be the responsibility of the library to provide safe physical access to the network devices and cabling. Once testing data has been gathered, OPLIN staff on site at the library may verbally discuss network issues with library IT staff and/or consultants, but in all cases a written diagnostic summary will be sent to the library after the testing data has been processed and analyzed at the OPLIN office.

How much will the network testing cost?

This service will be provided free of charge to any OPLIN participant that appears to have internal network problems.

Connections and Network Infrastructure

Connections and Network Infrastructure oplin Wed, 03/05/2008 - 13:04

The OPLIN Support Center can assist you with obtaining circuits under state contracts ("Contracts" tabs) as well as other connectivity services. There are currently several state contracts with several telecommunications vendors that offer a wide variety of services, prices, and options. You can contact OPLIN Support at 614-728-5252 (888-966-7546),, or to receive assistance with finding the connectivity package that is best for your library.

Internet Filtering

Internet Filtering hedgesst Fri, 10/14/2011 - 08:40

opendns-cisco-lock-up.pngThe OPLIN Board has negotiated a contract with Umbrella by OpenDNS to set up a statewide Internet content filtering system that will be available to all public libraries. OPLIN is charged by the Ohio Legislature " help local libraries use filters to screen out obscene and illegal internet materials." For many years, OPLIN fulfilled this requirement by distributing individual grants to libraries, but the earmarked funds were never enough to provide assistance to more than about 40-50 library systems. Clearly, a "central" filtering system available to all libraries would be better.

After several unsuccessful tests over the years, OPLIN finally identified Umbrella as a filtering solution which can effectively provide content filtering for all Ohio public libraries, while still allowing each library to have complete control over how, or if, the filter is to be used in their library system.

How it works

OPLIN purchases licenses to Umbrella for all Ohio public libraries. This provides libraries with free usage of Umbrella's web filtering capabilities, which each library can easily manage and customize by using a relatively simple interface. Ohio public libraries of all sizes have been able to adapt Umbrella to their individual needs. Just contact to request access to your Umbrella license.

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of the Internet filtering 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 Internet filtering malfunction within 4 business hours of Incident Response.

More technical information:

Rather than filtering content using a proxy based or span port appliance, Umbrella is a filtered Domain Name Server (DNS) service. You set up an account and associate IP address blocks with said account, and then you can control what types of content you want your users to see much like a traditional content filter. For any request to access a website that falls outside what you deem appropriate, Umbrella returns the IP of one of their block servers, instead of the IP for the real web server. The block can be bypassed on a per session basis by inputing a ticket code you create in the web admin interface. This ticket creates a cookie in the user's browser, which the block server detects and proxies the user to the content. Unless a ticket code is in use, the user is never proxied, so there is no worry of interfering with IP authenticated resources. There are also quite a few other options for how you can specify which machines are held to which rules.

In addition, since Umbrella does not have to handle the actual traffic after the initial DNS request, you do not have to worry about bottlenecks like you would with an appliance. 

If you have questions about our free, statewide filtering, please contact

See our Steps for obtaining an OPLIN-paid Umbrella account document for more information.

CIPA Requirements

CIPA Requirements hedgesst Tue, 12/15/2015 - 09:06

Public Library Requirements for Complying with CIPA


This document is presented for information purposes only. Libraries should consult their own legal counsel for an analysis of any specific policy.


The American Library Association (ALA) provides a lot of background information about the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Internet Protection Act (NCIPA), which taken together are commonly referred to as "CIPA." (NCIPA is a subtitle of CIPA; NCIPA only affects E-rate applicants.) CIPA requires public libraries to install Internet filtering software on all Internet computers (public and staff) if the library receives federal money from Library Services & Technology Act grants (LSTA) to purchase computers that will access the Internet, or receives federal E-rate (Universal Services) discounts for anything other than services classified as telecommunications.

Brief History

Both CIPA and NCIPA were included in a large federal appropriations bill that passed Congress in December 2000. In March 2001, the ALA, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several other groups filed suit to prevent the enforcement of CIPA's filtering requirement in public libraries. This litigation eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld CIPA in June 2003.

When must a public library comply with CIPA?

If the library:

  • receives E-rate discounts for any item or service classified as Internal Connections or Internet Access; or
  • receives LSTA funds to purchase any computers that will access the Internet, or Internet access (i.e. pay an Internet Service Provider);

then the library must be CIPA-compliant.

A library does NOT have to be CIPA-compliant to receive E-rate discounts on the Data Transmission services only, or to receive LSTA money for any other purpose than buying Internet access or computers that will access the Internet.

How to comply

There are three requirements that must be met.

Requirement #1: Use a technology protection measure

"Technology protection measure" means a filter on the Internet that blocks visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors (defined as any person less than 17 years of age). The filter need not affect text or audio, whatever the content. "Obscene" and "child pornography" have rather vague definitions in U.S. obscenity law. The CIPA legislation defines "harmful to minors" as nudity and sex without literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. See the Ohio Library Council's CIPA FAQ [pdf] for the complete definition.

You must be able to turn off the filter at the request of an adult "without significant delay."

Possible filter configuration:

If you are using the OpenDNS Web Content Filtering available free from OPLIN, the easiest way to meet this requirement is to select content filtering level "Low," which filters websites in the categories Pornography, Tasteless, Sexuality, and Proxy/Anonymizer (to prevent bypassing the filter). The descriptions of these categories can be found at If you want to select your own filtering categories, rather than using the pre-selected categories in the Low level, the Tasteless category is probably not necessary for CIPA compliance.

Note that OpenDNS also has a Nudity category that is not selected in the Low level. CIPA requires blocking images that "appeal to a prurient interest in nudity," and OpenDNS almost always tags websites in the Pornography category with a Nudity tag, too. Websites that only have a Nudity tag and no Pornography tag likely have artistic or scientific value and are not intended to be prurient.

Proving that you have a filter:

E-rate's Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) process for reviewing applications sometimes requests proof that a library has a filter. A screenshot of a filtering log or a purchase order should be sufficient. If you are using the free OPLIN OpenDNS filtering, then the email from OPLIN confirming the establishment of your account would take the place of a purchase order.

Requirement #2: Adopt an Internet Safety Policy

The library must adopt and enforce an Internet Safety Policy that includes the use of a technology protection measure. If the library is applying for E-rate discounts, the policy must address the following items:

  • access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet and the Web;
  • the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications;
  • unauthorized access and other unlawful activities by minors online;
  • unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors; and
  • measures designed to restrict minors' access to materials harmful to minors.

Note that the Ohio Revised Code (3375.64-C) already requires that libraries receiving OPLIN Internet connections "…establish and enforce procedures designed to keep juveniles who use the participant's services from having access to materials or performances that may be obscene or harmful to juveniles and to keep persons who are not juveniles and who use the participant's services from having access to materials or performances that may be obscene." The OPLIN office has copies of such policies on file from every Ohio public library.

Requirement #3: Hold a public hearing

The Internet Safety Policy must be adopted after a public hearing, or as the CIPA language says, libraries "shall provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the proposed Internet safety policy." [Title 47, §254(h)(6)] The regularly scheduled library board of trustees meeting may be used as the required public meeting, assuming the agenda is made public before the meeting and the meeting allows for public comments.

Declaring CIPA compliance

Libraries must certify their CIPA compliance, and there are several ways to do this. Libraries with OPLIN Internet connections are required to send OPLIN an E-rate Form 479 each year that declares whether or not the library is CIPA-compliant. No additional certification is necessary, but if a library is applying for E-rate discounts, the filing of a Form 486 also confirms CIPA compliance.

Steps for obtaining an OPLIN-paid Umbrella account

Steps for obtaining an OPLIN-paid Umbrella account hedgesst Wed, 12/28/2011 - 13:36

Cisco Umbrella first steps

Note: Cisco Umbrella is the new name and branding of Umbrella by OpenDNS

1. Send an email to stating that you would like to participate, along with the contact information for the person to whom we should email the account login details.
2. The contact's account will be set to an administrator level for your library account. This user will have the ability to send out additional invitations to other staff members, and also elevate them to administrator status.
3. From now on, your library is in complete control of your account. To get started, see Cisco Umbrella's Getting Started Guide.

You will want to use the Umbrella name servers on your network. The IPs for those servers are and If you want to test out the service before making it live on the entire network, you can always change the DNS servers on just your workstation to those two IPs and verify the filtering is working as you want it to. If you're ready to make filtering live, the place to use those two IPs will vary depending on how your network is currently configured.

  • If you statically define every workstation with its DNS settings (ex. the state DNS servers at then you would need to change every workstation to use these two new IPs.
  • If your workstations point to a local device for DNS (ex. a firewall/router/ActiveDirectory server) then the place you would use the two OpenDNS IPs would be in the forwarders settings of that device. Changing the IPs on a top level device like this will make filtering live for every workstation pointing to said device.

 Questions? Please ask at

DNS Services

DNS Services oplin Fri, 01/22/2010 - 11:14

DNS (Domain Name Server) servers allow you to reach another computer on the Internet from your computer without having to provide the explicit Internet address. Users prefer to use friendly computer domain names like "" instead of its IP address "". The DNS is a program consisting of a database of name and address information. The program responds to queries from other programs. DNS servers can communicate amongst themselves to update one another with new information. This mechanism is what allows you to reach a webpage on a new server when a friend sends you a link. You do not have to know the IP address of the server that contains the webpage.

DNS Servers
Local DNS servers use DNS forwarders to resolve external domain names that are outside the local network. Selecting reliable public DNS servers to use as forwarders is critical to the performance of your local network.

OPLIN subscribes to Cisco Umbrella, which provides both Internet Filtering and public DNS resolvers. Cisco Umbrella's public DNS servers can be used for DNS queries with or without filtering content. Google's public DNS servers are a reliable, performant public DNS source. 

Public DNS Servers

Domains Managed by OPLIN
If your domain's zones are defined in the State of Ohio's nameservers, OPLIN can manage your DNS records and make changes upon request. OPLIN is the DNS service provider for all domains in the TLD. If you do not know who is the authoritative nameserver for your domains, you can visit to find out. Send DNS support requests to OPLIN at

The information for the State's DNS is as follows:

State of Ohio

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to DNS-related malfunctions 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 work collaboratively with the Ohio Office of Information Technology (OIT) toward resolving the incident within 4 business hours of Incident Response.


Webkits oplin Tue, 06/16/2009 - 09:30

OPLIN Webkits


 Are you ready to improve your library's website?

Read Website 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 features?
  • Presents your library to your community as a strong, credible institution?

OPLIN is pleased to offer Ohio's public libraries  Website Kits, a 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  Website Kits offer a host of options for little investment of time and funds. 


Why would your library want an OPLIN 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 Website Kit makes managing your library's web site simple...finally!
  • Even the basic version has extra features. Want a WYSIWYG editor for your content?  Want to be able to attach PDF files? Color-coded events? A featured message for emergencies? All of these are featured in the basic, fixed-cost package and many 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 categorize your events easily by keywords (and filter your event calendar that way)
    • 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;
    • Ability to easily post clearly visible emergency closing notices;
    • Custom database listings that make it easy for your patrons to see what research databases your library has and what they do;
    • Automatically generated printer-friendly pages;
    • Responsive web design, so your site renders cleanly across devices;
    • A calendar and event listing system;
    • Upcoming events block that auto-fills with your events;
    • Direct integration with Google Analytics, to help your library see how your site is being used by its visitors.
    • Access to the Website Kit Module Market, where you can order add-ins, both free and premium, to your site
  • 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.)
    • Custom design of the header banner, including your logo if desired
    • Customizing of colors of text, footer, side blocks and calendar
    • Inclusion of a rotating database ad banner at footer of homepage
    • Custom favicon
  • Meets basic web accessibility standards. Website kits typically meet standards for Section 508 and WCAG AA-AAA.. (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 online documentation and additional phone support at no extra charge.  (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. Ask us if you need special functionality--we're able to accommodate many common requests!


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 Website Kit will be $795 for initial setup (original design and up to two revisions). Annual maintenance and upgrades cost $360 per year. (Please note:  As of January 1, 2022, OPLIN will not support any versions of Internet Explorer.) 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 Custom Websites for Libraries.

Note: Website Kits are intended to use limited server space, storing only the files needed to provide the public with information about the library and its services. To keep prices low and prevent website kit servers from reaching capacity, each website kit is allocated no more than 1 GB of file space, which is sufficient for even very large library websites. Images of library events, etc, should be optimized to stay within this limit or should be stored on another server provided by the library.


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 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 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, your new site address will also be

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 ( 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. 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.

Webkits--Selected Portfolio

Webkits--Selected Portfolio oplin Mon, 04/20/2009 - 09:42

**Map of all OPLIN Website Kit Clients**

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


Kaubisch Memorial Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


Meigs County District Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


Minerva Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


Brown County Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


St. Clairsville Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



Putnam County District Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



McKinley Memorial Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



Euclid Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



Piqua Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



Orrville Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



Norwalk Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website



Troy-Miami County Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


Marion Public Library

Old Site                                                         New Site

Old WebsiteNew Website


Custom Websites for Libraries

Custom Websites for Libraries hedgesst Wed, 07/08/2009 - 09:36

The OPLIN 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.  This can increase a library's cost considerably.

How to make your Webkit process easier

How to make your Webkit process easier oplin Mon, 05/09/2011 - 11:21


Webkits OPLIN

How to Make Your Webkit 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.  


Module Market

Module Market oplin Thu, 10/31/2019 - 07:30

Color-coded Calendar

Color-coded Calendar

Want your website's event calendar easier to visually sort?  With calendar color-coding, you can assign specific colors to a specific type or to the age group of events. The colors show up as as a background color for the event .

FREE: No cost to add to your Website Kit!

color coded calendarWant to make your


oplin Tue, 05/24/2016 - 09:23

Database Display

Database Display

Frustrated with trying to display and organize all of your library's research databases? Whether if you have access to databases individually or through a consortium, this display allows you to put them all into one, organized display that makes finding what patrons need a snap.

  • Your entries are automatically organized alphabetically
  • Users can easily see all of the databases in a given category
  • You provide the description, URL and a small screenshot of the database. The display does the rest!

Categories are pre-set by the display.  However, you can place any database in up three (3) different categories.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.


oplin Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:00

Office Hours

Office Hours

This nifty add-on allows you to change the open/closed hours as needed (especially handy if your hours are part of your library's design template). Separate instances for each of your library's locations are included in the price.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)


oplin Mon, 05/23/2016 - 14:04

Rotating Banner (Carousel)

Rotating Banner (Carousel)

One of the most popularly-request modules, the Rotating Banner (Carousel) module allows you to have a rotating set of images on your websites's homepage (or other page, if you prefer) with embedded links.  Libraries desiring this feature need to be able to create their own high-quality graphics.

  • Users can click any image and go to any URL you specify for that image
  • Carousels can contain 1-5 different images (five is the maximum recommended by usability experts)
  • Includes previous/next and individual slide navigation

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)


oplin Tue, 05/24/2016 - 09:07



This feature allows any content you specify to be published and/or unpublished automatically, on any date you specify.

(NOTE: This module is not recommended for use with content types that are in queues--e.g., sliders and front page items--as there is often a conflict in timing.)

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)


oplin Tue, 05/24/2016 - 10:10

Site Map

Site Map

This feature automatically generates a site map for your site's users, based on your published content. Includes links to all listed content and RSS feeds for many specific areas that users can subscribe to. Also helps your site to be more SEO (Search Engine Optimization)-friendly, so that search engines, such as Google, can more easily index and rank your site and content.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

oplin Tue, 05/24/2016 - 10:53

Website Audit

Website Audit

(NOTE: A Website Audit may be requested a maximum of twice per calendar year, per client library.)

Wondering if your site is up to snuff? Does it still meet accessibility standards? Do images meet best practices? Is your site too slow? Is your site's content using current guidelines? We'll check all of this, and more, at no charge to your library.  A detailed, written report will be sent to you, describing any found issues and what needs to happen to fix them.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

oplin Tue, 11/29/2016 - 10:22

Website Kit Refresher

Website Kit Refresher

Have a new staff person to acclimate, or just need some reminders about how to use the administration functions of your library's Webkit? This is a one-hour virtual training. We can either do a general refresher, or you can use the time to ask specific questions. Staff being trained should have at least some experience using the administrative interface of the library's Webkit.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

oplin Tue, 11/29/2016 - 10:33

eMedia Display

eMedia Display

**NOTE: Your Website Kit must already have the Database Display module installed before this module can be ordered.**

Frustrated with trying to display and organize all of your library's eMedia resources? Whether you have access to this type of resource individually or through a consortium, this display allows you to put them all into one, organized display that makes finding what patrons need a snap.

  • Your entries are automatically organized alphabetically
  • Users can easily see all of the resources in a given category
  • You provide the description, URL and a small screenshot or logo of the resource. The display does the rest!
Categories are pre-set by the display.  However, you can place any database in an unlimited number of different categories.
Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.
oplin Tue, 10/16/2018 - 09:32



This module allows you to check your content for potential accessibility issues that can affect your library's patrons with disabilities.

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.

**Before OPLIN will install this module, a staff member of your library must attend a live 30-minute training.**

Screenshot of a11y module in action, showing an improper alt attribute

oplin Thu, 10/28/2021 - 08:16

9-Block Layout

9-Block Layout

Convert your existing standard story block layout from 4 to 9 blocks.  Some things to know before you order:

  • There is no text, other than the title, that appears on the homepage (see image, below)
  • If you have a Visual Story Block layout, you should be aware that this layout does not use the larger, animated blocks. You front page main content area will be converted to using regular Story Blocks in order to use this module. If you want to add more Visual Story Blocks to your existing layout, please contact Laura Solomon directly.

Premium: $150.00 Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Screenshot showing sample of 9 block layout

oplin Thu, 12/01/2022 - 11:03

Add to Calendar Button

Add to Calendar Button

A button will be automatically added to your library's events that allows users to conveniently add the event to a variety of third-party calendars (iCalendar, Google and others--see image, below). 

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Add to Calendar button fully expanded showing various calendar options


oplin Thu, 10/31/2019 - 07:12

Big Covers

Big Covers

A row of four (4) large book covers, with title, author and animated "Reserve" button. This feature appears on the homepage. Library can change the books featured at any time.

NOTES: Takes up full width, so must be placed either below a Hero Image, directly below the site header or directly above the site footer.

Premium: $300.00 Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Big covers demo


oplin Thu, 03/10/2022 - 09:20

CAC (Cover Art Carousel)

CAC (Cover Art Carousel)

The CAC feature allows you to have a user-rotated carousel of new items on either your site's homepage or on another designated page in the site. 

  • There is no limit to the number of items that can be placed in the carousel; any items that are published will be displayed.
  • The dimensions of the images in the carousel can be in a range or standardized to one size
  • Please note that the price is per carousel, not per module installation.

Premium: $300.00 (PER CAROUSEL) Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)




oplin Wed, 09/09/2020 - 10:52

Calendar Pop-Up

Calendar Pop-Up

When a user mouses over a calendar event, they get a short description (summary) of the event. They can still click the event's title to get the full description.

NOTE:  Mobile devices do not support mouseovers, so this function is only available on desktops and laptops. Also, this function is not available unless your Website Kit uses the native calendar function to display the full (monthly) calendar.

Premium: $150.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Screenshot of calendar popup

oplin Tue, 10/26/2021 - 10:08

Color-Coded Upcoming Events Block

Color-Coded Upcoming Events Block

Color-code the events in the "Upcoming Events" block in your Website Kit's sidebar by either age or location. Includes legend at the bottom of the block.  (Please note that events that are in more than one category will only be color-coded by the first category alphabetically.)

Premium: $150.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Example of color coded events block


oplin Tue, 09/29/2020 - 08:25



This module allows you to create different layouts for different sections of book pages and pages.  See the full tutorial playlist for examples of each of the available components. 

NOTES: Installation and configuration of this module requires more time than many others; please be patient. Also, the video series will show/reference a component (Tabs Wrapper) that is not currently available.


  • Left-aligned image
  • Right-aligned image
  • Video with side text
  • Parallax header
  • Image Cards
  • 4-image gallery

Premium: $300.00. Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

oplin Mon, 02/28/2022 - 14:21

Event Importer

Event Importer

Does your library use a third-party event system (either Demco Signup, EventKeeper or LibCal*)? Those events can be directly imported into your Website Kit, so they can be searched by end users and appear directly in "Upcoming Events" blocks and the monthly calendar*--just like natively-entered events!

NOTE: Your library must have a subscription to one of the listed services to use this module.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches, custom link configuration and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)


*The LibCal platform does not allow the import of more than 30 days' worth of events, so it can only be used for the "Upcoming Events" block, and an embedded LibCal calendar must be used for the full calendar display.

oplin Thu, 12/12/2019 - 06:39



This module easily allows you to enter questions an answers and have them displayed in an accordion interface for your visitors. 

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Demo of faq module


oplin Fri, 03/12/2021 - 11:13

Facebook Sharing

Facebook Sharing

This module ensures that the correct title and description are pulled from your content when shared to Facebook. A separate field is provided so that you can include a specifically-sized image that Facebook will pull when it displays your content. 

Works with the following content types:

  • Events
  • Book pages
  • Basic pages

Free: No cost to add this feature to your Website Kit.


oplin Tue, 12/28/2021 - 09:57

Full-Width Carousel

Full-Width Carousel

**PREREQUISITE: Site must already have original Carousel installed before this can be ordered.**

This version of the carousel (rotating banner) takes up the full width of the device screen and includes custom-colored indicators that are shown as an overlay.

Premium: $100.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)


Animation of full width slider in motion



oplin Wed, 02/10/2021 - 13:42

Hero Image

Hero Image

A full-width image that appears directly underneath the site's header, and the search feature is embedded in its center.  The image can be changed by a library at any time. The website will use the most recently-created hero image as the background for this region.

NOTES: If your site already has a carousel on the homepage, this feature will replace it. The search function will be moved out of the site's header and to this new region.

Premium: $300.00 Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)


Hero image with different search style

Demo of hero image


oplin Thu, 03/10/2022 - 08:53

Horizontal Upcoming Events Block

Horizontal Upcoming Events Block

NOTE: Visual Story Blocks module is required before this module can be installed.

Full-width features are more modern and take advantage of larger displays. Now the Upcoming Events block can be full width, also! Links at the bottom of the display can be for either age groups or locations. This module displays two rows of three (3) events each at larger sizes; events will stack as singles at smaller sizes.  See images, below.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Horizontal upcoming events display

On mobile:

Horizontal events on mobile

oplin Tue, 06/14/2022 - 08:06

Location Blocks

Location Blocks

Make your events easy to find!  A side block including the address and a miniature Google Map will appear in relation to an individual event's location (See image, below).

NOTE: This module is only available for sites using the native Website Kit calendar system or the Evanced (Demco Signup) event importer module.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

What a location block looks like


oplin Thu, 10/31/2019 - 07:33

Service Blocks

Service Blocks

This module creates a row of four (4) interactive graphics & text, intended to promote specific library services. The row is for the site's homepage, and can be placed A) above or below an existing carousel B)just below the site's header or C) just above the site's footer.

NOTE: The library creates the specific graphic background for each service block; backgrounds should not conflict with the text color(s) used. 

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Animated demo of service blocks feature

oplin Wed, 03/09/2022 - 13:46

Sticky Header

Sticky Header

Minimizes the header of the website and keeps the header at the top when the user scrolls vertically on desktop-sized devices.

**It is strongly (!) recommended that libraries provide OPLIN with an SVG version of their library's logo in order to avoid additional costs.***Additional customization costs may be required with this module if your library's logo is not available in a vector format.

Premium: $300.00* Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Sticky header demo animation


oplin Thu, 09/24/2020 - 12:03

Visual Story Blocks

Visual Story Blocks

The web has become increasingly visual, and many people will now not read even a sentence or two. OPLIN introduces Visual Story Blocks, which focus purely on the visual aspect of a promoted item, displaying just a brief title and a larger image.

Premium: $300.00  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs)

Demo of visual story blocks


Visual story blocks can also be laid out horizontally, if your site is also using the Horizontal Upcoming Events block module:


Demo of horizontal story blocks layout


oplin Thu, 10/01/2020 - 09:09



Create your own online forms.

WARNING: Because the Webform module is a development platform with access to a near endless arrangement of fields and configurations, OPLIN can only support those fields covered in our custom training videos. Webforms have a significant learning curve. If you are not prepared to undertake this on your own time, OPLIN recommends NOT purchasing this module. Support requests that go beyond the scope of the OPLIN training videos will result in per-hour charges to the library.

Features include the ability to make specific fields required and send results via email to one or more addresses.  To learn more about how to use this module, see our online video series .

Premium: $300.00.  Includes security patches and upgrades in perpetuity (no ongoing costs, but additional instruction and support billed at hourly rate)

oplin Thu, 06/09/2016 - 13:14

Webkit Manual

Webkit Manual hedgesst Wed, 04/01/2009 - 14:05

Webkit Manual

The Webkit Process

The Webkit Process oplin Thu, 01/21/2016 - 12:54

Wondering what the process is for getting an OPLIN Website Kit? Details, below:

  1. Phone conference. The process starts with a phone conference, generally between OPLIN and one or perhaps two contact people (see How to Make Your Website Kit Process Easier for more information about Website Kit liaisons).  We will send you a list of questions to consider beforehand. We'll discuss what you like (or don't like) about your current site, and what you'd like in a new one. We'll also make recommendations based on your needs and goals.  
  2. Cost estimate.  After the phone conference, OPLIN will send you an itemized cost estimate for your project, based on what was discussed in the initial phone conference.  You'll be asked to review and to note any changes.  
  3. Contract.  Once we have a finalized cost estimate, your library will be sent an official contract. When we have received the signed copy, work on your new Website Kit will be in earnest.
  4. Site architecture.  We'll put together a site architecture, which will  map out the hierarchy of your content, based on the phone conference and on the site's existing content.  We'll then ask you to make revisions (such as removing pages no longer used or re-arranging the order of any pages).  OPLIN will review your proposed changes for any potential usability issues. Once we have something we're all happy with, you'll sign an Architecture Approval form. Keep in mind that any changes requested to this architecture,  after signing,  will incur additional charges, with a minimum charge of $150.00.
  5. Design. Based on the specifications laid out in the phone conference and the approved site architecture, OPLIN creates a design prototype (mockup).  We allow up to three drafts; that means that, after the original version, you'll have two (2)  more drafts available for tweaks or changes.
  6. Construction.  This is when OPLIN actually builds your site. 
  7. Review. When the site build is nearly complete, we'll send you a link to it on a test server to look at, and ask you to fill out an approval form for various design elements. Any issues should be noted at that time.
  8. Training. When  all design regions are fixed and approved, we'll schedule training for you and/or your designated staff. The training will cover how to input various types of content, as well as any administrative functions native to the site. Training typically takes approximately two (2) hours; we allow up to three (3) as part of your project. 
  9. Launch. Launch occurs when you tell us that all necessary content has been migrated to the new site.  OPLIN will will work with your library to manage any DNS changes for domains related to your website.

Welcome Packet

Welcome Packet oplin Wed, 08/30/2017 - 13:16


Testimonials oplin Fri, 06/04/2010 - 12:20
  • "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>
  • "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>
  • Thanks so much for everything. We are all extremely appreciative and pleased. You were a true pleasure to work with."--New Carlisle Public Library  


SMS Notifications

SMS Notifications hedgesst Mon, 08/16/2010 - 15:36

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 this service is intended only for patron alerts which they've opted in for. Blasts of marketing messages are governed by a different set of laws due to SPAM, which is outside the scope of this service.



  • 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>


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 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 (



Error Codes and Resolution


Code Meaning Resolution
DR001 Mobile number has opted-out of future messages Having patron text "unstop" to 877-675-4632 will remove the block, and will automatically respond with a generic subscription confirmation message. If the automatic response does not arrive, patron should contact their vendor about being able to receive shortcode messages from 877-675-4632.
DR002 The gateway is not routing messages to this network prefix. Number is likely a landline or unknown carrier.
DR005 The messaging gateway failed to deliver the message to the phone provided Message failed at patron carrier level. If previous attempt was successful, one retry will be attempted. Troubleshooting would involve patron reaching out to their carrier to ensure successful delivery of messages in the future.
DR006 The mobile number is invalid and cannot receive messages. Do not retry. Check for a typo in the patron's email address in the patron record
DR008 The message expired and was not delivered to the subscriber. Message failed at patron carrier level. If previous attempt was successful, one retry will be attempted. Troubleshooting would involve patron reaching out to their carrier to ensure successful delivery of messages in the future.
DR009 The carrier rejected the message. This can be due to short code messaging blocked, anti-spam policies, or their wireless plan. Message failed at patron carrier level. If previous attempt was successful, one retry will be attempted. Troubleshooting would involve patron reaching out to their carrier to ensure successful delivery of messages in the future.
DR013 The mobile number does not support text messages. Check for a typo in the patron's email address in the patron record.
DR015 SMS could not be delivered due to a phone error Message failed at patron carrier level. If previous attempt was successful, one retry will be attempted. Troubleshooting would involve patron reaching out to their carrier to ensure successful delivery of messages in the future.
DR019 Message will be retried by carrier.  
MPCE3202 Cannot send to international number Check for a typo in the patron's email address in the patron record
MPME0601 Inappropriate Message Content. The content of the text message was rejected by filters at the SMS bulk carrier. The message may contain spammy words like "naked."
MPME1204 Special Characters are not allowed Check message for odd characters or punctuation.
MPME2301 The subscription ID OPLIN has on file for this number is no longer valid. No action needed. Main reason to see this is if a patron blocks the texting service. When OPLIN receives this message we automatically delete the old subscription ID and retry the message. Retrying the message will either successfully generate a new ID, or will cause a different error to fire.
MPSE0501 User has a block in place Having patron text "unstop" to 877-675-4632 will remove the block, and will automatically respond with a generic subscription confirmation message. If the automatic response does not arrive, patron should contact their vendor about being able to receive shortcode messages from 877-675-4632.
MPSE2201 Invalid mobile number format Check for a typo in the patron's email address in the patron record
MPSE2208 Invalid mobile number Check for a typo in the patron's email address in the patron record

E-Rate Information and Training

E-Rate Information and Training Laura Solomon (not verified) Tue, 06/23/2009 - 09:51

Did you know that public libraries are eligible to receive discounts on internet connection, wireless access and hardware that supports internet access through the E-rate program? By filling out a few forms you can get as much as a 90% discount on your 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.

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

PDF copies of the workshop slides can be found here.

Click "Show More" below the videos to find indexes of topics you can jump to the exact subject that interests you. In addition, you can find more E-rate related recordings (including both an overview and a walkthrough for the FCC's Emergency Connectivity Fund) at OPLIN's YouTube channel,

Libraries participating in the E-rate program must be compliant with the Children’s Internet and Protection Act, also known as CIPA.  These restrictions take the form of requirements for Internet safety policies and technology which blocks or filters certain material from being accessed through the Internet. More information on CIPA compliance is available here. Additionally, OPLIN provides internet filtering at no charge to public libraries. More information, including steps to getting an account, is available here.

E-rate Discount Rate

E-rate Discount Rate don Tue, 10/11/2022 - 15:37

This chart contains the current E-rate discount percentage for Ohio library systems with branches. The average monthly recurring cost for a 100 Mbps Ethernet circuit is approximately $400, and the chart shows what that would cost a library after E-rate discounts are applied.

Library Name Category 1 Discount Approx Monthly Cost 100 Mbps
Adams County Public Library - OH0129 80% $80
Akron-Summit County Public Library - OH0002 90% $40
Ashtabula County District Library - OH0012 90% $40
Athens County Public Libraries - OH0156 80% $80
Auglaize County District Public Library - OH0225 70% $120
Barberton Public Library - OH0016 80% $80
Belmont County District Library - OH0133 80% $80
Birchard Public Library of Sandusky County - OH0086 70% $120
Briggs Lawrence County Public Library - OH0107 60% $160
Brown County Public Library - OH0090 70% $120
Brumback Library - OH0221 70% $120
Carnegie Public Library (Washington CH) - OH0227 80% $80
Carroll County District Library - OH0042 70% $120
Champaign County Library - OH0220 80% $80
Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library - OH0048 90% $40
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library - OH0049 90% $40
Clark County Public Library - OH0204 90% $40
Claymont Public Library - OH0068 80% $80
Clermont County Public Library - OH0018 80% $80
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library - OH0053 90% $40
Cleveland Public Library - OH0051 90% $40
Columbus Metropolitan Library - OH0057 90% $40
Coshocton Public Library - OH0059 90% $40
Crestline Public Library - OH0061 90% $40
Cuyahoga County Public Library - OH0052 60% $160
Dayton Metro Library - OH0063 90% $40
Defiance Public Library - OH0064 70% $120
Delaware County District Library - OH0065 50% $200
Elyria Public Library - OH0077 80% $80
Fairfield County District Library - OH0116 80% $80
Findlay-Hancock County Public Library - OH0081 50% $200
Franklin-Springboro Public Libraries - OH0085 60% $160
Garnet A Wilson Public Library of Pike County - OH0229 80% $80
Geauga County Public Library - OH0046 50% $200
Greene County Public Library - OH0247 80% $80
Guernsey County District Public Library - OH0037 80% $80
Harris-Elmore Public Library - OH0076 60% $160
Highland County District Library - OH0101 80% $80
Holmes County District Public Library - OH0146 70% $120
Huron County Community Library - OH0241 80% $80
Ida Rupp Public Library - OH0188 70% $120
Kate Love Simpson-Morgan County Library - OH0139 80% $80
Lakewood Public Library - OH0115 50% $200
Lane Public Library - OH0100 80% $80
Licking County Library - OH0163 80% $80
Lima Public Library - OH0121 90% $40
Logan County Libraries - OH0021 70% $120
Logan-Hocking County District Library - OH0123 80% $80
Lorain Public Library System - OH0125 90% $40
Mansfield-Richland County Public Library - OH0130 90% $40
Marion Public Library - OH0132 90% $40
Mary L Cook Public Library - OH0231 40% $240
Marysville Public Library - OH0134 50% $200
Massillon Public Library - OH0136 90% $40
McKinley Memorial Library - OH0166 80% $80
Medina County District Library - OH0141 50% $200
Meigs County District Public Library - OH0187 90% $40
Mentor Public Library - OH0142 40% $240
Mercer County District Public Library - OH0043 70% $120
MidPointe Library System - OH0144 90% $40
Milan-Berlin Public Libraries - OH0145 60% $160
Muskingum County Library System - OH0250 90% $40
Napoleon Public Library - OH0155 70% $120
Patrick Henry School District Public Library - OH0069 60% $160
Paulding County Carnegie Library - OH0179 70% $120
Pemberville Public Library - OH0180 50% $200
Peninsula Library - OH0181 70% $120
Perry County District Library - OH0158 80% $80
Pickaway County District Public Library - OH0050 80% $80
Pickerington Public Library - OH0184 60% $160
Portage County District Library - OH0089 60% $160
Portsmouth Public Library - OH0189 90% $40
Preble County District Library - OH0075 60% $160
Public Library of Mt Vernon and Knox County - OH0153 80% $80
Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County - OH0208 90% $40
Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County - OH0248 90% $40
Puskarich Public Library - OH0035 80% $80
Putnam County District Library - OH0176 50% $200
Ridgemont Public Library - OH0154 50% $200
Rodman Public Library - OH0005 90% $40
Sabina Public Library - OH0197 70% $120
Sandusky Library - OH0199 80% $80
Shaker Heights Public Library - OH0200 50% $200
Shelby County Libraries - Amos Memorial - OH0203 80% $80
Southwest Public Libraries - OH0099 80% $80
St. Paris Public Library - OH0207 60% $160
Stark County District Library - OH0039 90% $40
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library - OH0215 90% $40
Troy-Miami County Public Library - OH0216 60% $160
Tuscarawas County Public Library - OH0161 70% $120
Union Township Public Library - OH0192 90% $40
Upper Arlington Public Library - OH0218 40% $240
Warren-Trumbull County Public Library - OH0226 90% $40
Washington County Public Library - OH0131 70% $120
Washington-Centerville Public Library - OH0045 40% $240
Wayne County Public Library - OH0245 70% $120
Weston Public Library - OH0239 60% $160
Williams County Public Library - OH0032 70% $120
Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library - OH0242 60% $160
Wilmington Public Library of Clinton County - OH0243 80% $80
Wood County District Public Library - OH0029 50% $200
Worthington Libraries - OH0246 50% $200

Statewide Library Branch Assistance Plan

Statewide Library Branch Assistance Plan

OPLIN is releasing a statewide, competitive bidding opportunity for broadband vendors to provide library branch circuits. OPLIN cannot pay for the branch circuits, but by issuing a statewide RFP through the E-rate system, it is hoped that vendors will take advantage of expanded business opportunities to offer better pricing (and lower construction costs) than libraries have seen acting on their own. Libraries could then locally request E-rate discounts against the bids received in the statewide call for proposals. You can view a short video explanation for more information.

To participate, please fill out and submit the form below by December 1, 2022, for each branch you want to include in the omnibus RFP.

Questions? Email

oplin Wed, 10/19/2022 - 09:36
Connect to:

Co-Location Service

Co-Location Service hedgesst Wed, 09/06/2017 - 12:00

OPLIN has contracted with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to lease an area of the State of Ohio Computer Center (SOCC) that is set aside for use by Ohio public libraries and public library consortia. The SOCC is a Tier III rated data center housing a variety of critical state networking and server equipment, including the OPLIN network core. Through this lease arrangement, OPLIN is making this secure space available to Ohio public libraries for co-locating any of their servers and networking equipment in the same locked, reliable space that houses OPLIN's equipment.

Some advantages of putting networking and server equipment in this shared space are:

  • Power fed from redundant Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) for short power outages
  • Generator power for power outages of longer lengths
  • Climate control with chilled air delivered to the face of the racks
  • Localized fire suppression systems
  • All access to the SOCC logged at the Security Desk with a valid form of ID before admittance
  • Rack access only by key cards issued to individuals that are cleared via background check procedures
  • Direct wiring to the OPLIN network core.

Prices are based on the number of standard “U”s (“rack units”) occupied by library equipment. Rack units occupied by any equipment providing services to more than one Ohio public library system are provided by OPLIN free of any charge. Rack units occupied by any equipment providing services to only one library system are subject to an annual charge of $360 per U.


Please contact OPLIN Support for more detailed information.

Database Authentication

Database Authentication oplin Mon, 07/25/2022 - 13:25

OPLIN hosts authentication services to ensure that library patrons can access statewide subscriptions, and libraries can also use these services to authenticate patrons to library-purchased subscriptions.


Mask authenticates patrons by card and PIN against library databases in real time.

  • Mask is compatible with titles that require PatronAPI or SIP2 access for authentication.
  • Mask improves patron privacy by providing a trusted layer between third-party vendors and library patron databases. Mask accepts an authentication request from the vendor, performs the patron card/PIN lookup in the ILS database, and returns only essential portions of the response to the vendor, anonymizing or stripping unnecessary fields.
  • Mask can authenticate patrons to LinkedIn Learning for Library, Kanopy, Hoopla, Freegal, ComicsPlus, and more.

Please contact OPLIN at to explore compatibility with other products.


OPLIN hosts an EZproxy instance for every Ohio public library to provide access to statewide-purchased content.

  • Libraries can use OPLIN's EZproxy instance to provide local and remote access to library-purchased databases.
  • Publish a single URL to ensure patrons can access a database both in the library and from home.
  • EZproxy is compatible with any title that supports IP authentication, referral links, and other special scenarios required by vendors, such as redemption codes for New York Times or Wall Street Journal.
  • OPLIN provides library-branded EZproxy login pages, ensuring libraries receive credit for purchasing content for their communities.

Email OPLIN at to configure EZproxy for any compatible database.

Ohio Web Library

Ohio Web Library permalinks provide access to statewide titles. Libraries can ensure patrons have ongoing access to statewide titles by publishing the provided permalink.

  • OWL links use library card pattern matching. Visitors input their library card, and are matched to the correct institution.
  • Publishing Ohio Web Library authentication links ensures that patrons of any Ohio public library can gain access to statewide content.
  • To ensure equity of access, OWL authentication links also support geo-location as an authentication option.
  • OWL authentication links are permalinks maintained by OPLIN, and will remain valid even after vendor changes.

Keeping You in the Know

Keeping You in the Know oplin Thu, 08/06/2015 - 07:35

Technology Information

Technology Information oplin Wed, 03/05/2008 - 11:58

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.








OPLIN listservs

OPLIN listservs oplin Thu, 06/12/2008 - 13:34

OPLIN hosts a number of listservs, which can be accessed at 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 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 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. Contact OPLIN Support for more information.

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.




OPLINUPDATES oplin Thu, 06/12/2008 - 14:19


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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 oplin Thu, 06/12/2008 - 13:45

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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 oplin Thu, 06/12/2008 - 14:12

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
  • 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
  • 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:


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
  • 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.

Northstar Digital Literacy

Northstar Digital Literacy oplin Mon, 11/22/2021 - 13:53

Quick Links

Northstar Digital Literacy

Libraries have long known that to succeed in the information age, people need the digital skills to make use of online services and computer resources. Northstar is a valuable tool to help libraries help their communities, and thanks to an IMLS ARPA grant from the State Library, it's now available to all Ohio libraries.


Northstar focuses on basic digital literacy skills—such as using a mouse, searching on the internet, and using email—as well as advanced skills, like using Google Docs and searching for jobs online.

  1. Assessments in fourteen digital skills areas measure proficiency and identify skill gaps. Learners who take proctored assessments through a Northstar subscriber location can receive certificates or badges, which inspire a sense of confidence and accomplishment as well as allow them to demonstrate skills to potential employers.
  2. Instructor-led curricula provide detailed lesson plans for teachers and can be used remotely or in person. The curricula is easy to follow, learner-centered, interactive and flexible. Each lesson plan includes a detailed teacher prep guide.
  3. Self-directed online learning provides individualized online instruction and practice. Learners can independently access original online content incorporating Northstar standards, instruction, and practice. When learners complete an assessment, they are automatically directed to the Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) content corresponding to what they still need to learn. 

As Northstar locations, libraries can create learner accounts, which track online learning and the assessments completed. When libraries become Northstar testing locations, they can award certificates and digital badges, which inspire a sense of confidence and accomplishment, and demonstrate skill mastery to potential employers.


Visit, and click the green TAKE AN ASSESSMENT button.

"Take An Assessment" button

Choose any one of the 14 modules to test yourself.


There are lots of things for libraries to consider as they prepare to implement Northstar locally.  Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that may help.


As always, there is a wealth of marketing materials that OPLIN has consolidated and created for your library.


If your library has additional questions about Northstar Digital Literacy, please contact Christine Morris at 614-728-5252 or christine AT


Community partners may also be interested in learning more about Northstar.  Here is an overview of the Northstar grant project that you can share with potential digital literacy partners in your community.

Northstar for Digital Literacy Partners

Northstar for Digital Literacy Partners oplin Mon, 11/22/2021 - 13:57

At its September 2021 meeting, the Board of the State Library of Ohio approved $60,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support licenses to Northstar Digital Literacy ( for all of Ohio’s public libraries through OPLIN. The purpose of acquiring Northstar is to

  1. help individuals assess their current level of digital literacy,
  2. provide tools for individuals to develop competencies,
  3. provide optional curriculum for library staff to assist in developing digital literacy skills among their patrons, and
  4. provide an optional certification process for libraries that are interested in helping their patrons gain credentials.

OPLIN is implementing Northstar statewide for all library sites simultaneously, but adoption at a local library level will be up to the libraries. Based on current interest, we are expecting at least half of the 251 public libraries in Ohio will go live with Northstar by early January. First-round training started in late November and will conclude in late December.

Additional training will take place in early 2022 for second-round adopters.

Libraries will have the opportunity to self-select with regard to assessment proctoring and certification. Our goal is to have at least one proctoring library in each county by September 30, 2022.

Additional updates for Digital Literacy Partners will be posted here as they become available.

Northstar for Libraries

Northstar for Libraries oplin Mon, 11/22/2021 - 13:56

Digital literacy has been a part of library service since the first public computers were installed nearly 40 years ago. Public health concerns limited access to both library computers and face-to-face interaction with patrons in 2020.  In the meantime, patrons were pushed into situations requiring new levels of digital literacy: working from home, applying for new jobs or new benefits, and supporting online learning for family members.

Libraries are and have been engaged in the work of digital literacy, whether they have formally recognized that work or not. For many library staff, this work may feel like something “extra” that they have to do, especially if they don’t feel supported in that work. For library administrators, it is often difficult to find the resources to support their staff the way they would like. Northstar can and will be that support.


How is Northstar different from LinkedIn Learning?

In brief, Northstar is for folks who have relatively low digital literacy skills, and it is a tool that your staff can use to navigate those "where do we even start?" conversations with patrons.  It can also update or supplement any training curriculum you may use in your interactions with patrons.  The folks who developed Northstar (Literacy Minnesota) are skilled at breaking down digital literacy topics into manageable pieces with simplified vocabulary for people who are just starting out in their digital skills journey.
LinkedInLearning is focused on learners who have a more advanced comfort level with computers and want to explore topics in-depth.  Since the courses tend to be longer, the pace a little quicker, and the vocabulary a little more advanced, the LinkedIn Learning courses are better for folks who are further along in their digital skills journey.

When does my library have to "go live" with Northstar?

Your library can go live whenever it works best for you. Please take your time to get as comfortable as everyone needs before rolling it out. We will be checking in with libraries in January to see how you are doing, where you are, and what you need to get to where you want to be.

What does it mean to "go live" with Northstar?

That is up to your library and your community. We believe strongly that Northstar can be an effective resource on many levels, and we think that it will save you and your colleagues time and effort with the digital literacy work you are already doing. Here are some ways that you might implement Northstar at your library:

  • Your library may choose to promote Northstar for your patrons to do self-assessment and self-directed learning via your website.
  • Your library may choose to use Northstar to guide your interactions with patrons.
    • You can start with the digital literacy Screener, available to staff among Other Resources in the Northstar staff interface.
    • You can use the Northstar Curriculum to guide your interactions with patrons in one-on-one or group settings.
  • Your library can offer Proctoring Services or partner with local community groups to provide proctoring services to your patrons, resulting in digital literacy certification that they can use for job searches and personal satisfaction.

As you prepare to go live, you may find this checklist helpful.

There are two options to consider. 

You can use your library's unique link to the assessment launch page, as presented in the Admin portal.  For example:
You also have an option for a Learner-focused starting point.  For example:
The second option may suit your library better, but it requires a few tweaks--please contact Christine AT directly to get your unique URL and instructions to make it work best.

When can library staff get Northstar accounts?

Your local Site Administrator will be able to answer your questions about how & when your library will begin setting up staff accounts

What functions do Learners have in Northstar?

Learners can take assessments and save their scores. Learners can also access the practice lessons for questions that they missed on the assessments.

Do we have to add tags to Learner accounts?

No, whether or not to add tags and which tags to add are entirely up to your library.

Can Learners see tagging on their account?

No, tagging is only for the benefit of library staff, and it is only visible to staff.

Can Learner reports be sorted?

Yes, reports can be filtered by tags or date range, and the reports can be downloaded as a spreadsheet for further analysis.

Do Learners need an email address to set up an account?

Yes. That is the way the Northstar uniquely identifies each Learner. Each Learner must have a unique email address. That may be challenging for folks who are not yet firm in their digital literacy skills.  One way to deal with that is to follow your local processes for setting up patrons with personal email accounts.  Another way may be to set up an alias email and route it to your library, until the patron feels comfortable setting up their own email.

For example, Gmail has a built-in alias function. Multiple accounts can funnel to a single email address by using the + symbol and descriptive text afterward. Using that feature, one account (i.e. can become many email addresses (i.e.,, etc.). As far as Northstar is concerned, these are each unique email addresses, and Learners can update their email address when they are comfortable doing so.

Does my library have to proctor Northstar for our patrons?

You certainly don't have to proctor Northstar assessments, and there may be many reasons you choose not to do so.  But one of our goals with this grant is to have at least one library in each county that is willing to offer proctoring services.  It may be that you choose to offer proctoring for one or two hours per week by appointment, and even that can be a great service for your community.

How can I review the Northstar proctor training?

When you have been designated as a proctor, you will be prompted to complete a proctor training session in the Northstar system.  Once you have completed that training, the prompt will not return, but you can go back to review the training again at

Why can't I see my proctor PIN?

Until your library edits your Location Info to indicate that you are offering proctored assessments and certificates to your users, you will only be able to see your Proctor PIN on  your Personal Profile page.

How can my library proctor test takers in a group setting?

To do group proctoring, you would verbally instruct the test takers to make a request to start a proctored assessment from their account, and then you would approve the request in your Admin portal. Full instructions can be found at

How can my library proctor remotely?

Remote proctoring is very similar to group proctoring. Northstar has created a couple of best practice resources for remote proctoring, including a full instruction guide and a handy checklist to use each time you work with a remote test-taker.

Can my library deputize volunteer proctors?

Yes, your library can set up volunteers as proctors, especially if your staff do not have capacity to take that on. You may find volunteer interest among a variety of civic groups. You can add the proctor volunteers in the Admin portal, and they will receive an email invitation to undertake the training.  Once they complete the training, they will have a Proctor PIN, and you can coordinate a proctor schedule with them.

Can community partners (like Ohio Means Jobs sites) get the results of their clients from the library?

There are confidentiality considerations to make in responding to that request.  The simplest solution would be to print out two copies of assessment results or certificates for the clients to share one copy with the partner organization.

Can Learners get Northstar certificates without proctoring?

No; the proctoring process ensures that the assessment was completed according to Northstar standards for certification.

Can a Learner be checked in without a photo ID?

No; Northstar protocol requires a photo ID, but if you have specific concerns about a Learner without a photo ID, please create a Support Ticket with Northstar to discuss the situation.

Are the Northstar certificates recognized?

The Northstar certificates are not an industry credential, but they are becoming more widely recognized as documentation of digital literacy skill.

How frequently are assessments updated?

The assessments are reviewed annually for needed updates, and they are also reviewed after the release of major software updates.

Why does Northstar not recommend using the assessments for pre-employment screening?

There are several reasons why Northstar does not recommend using the assessment to screen job applicants.

First and foremost, the Northstar philosophy is one of empowerment - they do not want Northstar to be used to 'screen people out' of employment, but to help individuals identify skills that might need improvement, so they can take appropriate action.

Secondly, Northstar was not developed as an employment screening tool, so they cannot vouch that it meets legal requirements as such. There are a number of requirements regarding assessments and test validity from the US Department of Labor and the EEOC that should be considered before using any tool for pre-employment screening.

Can we use Northstar for our library staff training?

It is possible to use Northstar to help improve digital literacy skills among your own library staff. There are many local considerations to make in doing so, but there are libraries that have found success. One example is from Heights Libraries.

How can I help Learners after they take an assessment?

Several of the assessment topics have NSOL practice modules. These are the assessment topics that have built-in lessons:

  • Basic Computer Skills (English and Spanish)
  • Internet (English only at this time)
  • Email (English only at this time)
  • Windows (English only at this time)
  • MS Word (English only at this time)
  • MS Excel (English only at this time)
  • MS PowerPoint (English only at this time)
  • Career Search Skills (English only at this time)

Some of the assessments do not have a corresponding practice module yet, and there is no answer key

Never fear! The Learners will receive a report after taking the assessment. That report will refer to the Northstar standards they need to address. Those standards are addressed in the curriculum, which you can use in a class setting or in a one-on-one consultation with the Learner. You can also use the curriculum to suggest resources for self-guided learning.

How many administrators can my library have for Northstar?

Each library can have up to three administrators.  We recommend that you consider having at least two, so that there is a backup in place at your library. If you want to have three administrators, please re-assign the OPLIN account for your library to have Admin Portal Access only.

Where can I see the recordings of the previous training sessions?

We are recording all of the training sessions, and those sessions are posted on the OPLIN YouTube Channel. The slides are also available. The introductory session, hosted by OLC, can also be viewed..

Can I learn about Northstar in less than an hour?

Yes! The recorded trainings are a great resource, but sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day.  Here is a way to get ready in less time:

If you have 15 minutes:

Topic Title Run Time
Overview What is Northstar? 3 min, 55 sec
Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) Meet Northstar Online Learning 44 sec
Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) NSOL Navigation, Part 1 1 min, 24 sec
Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) NSOL Navigation, Part 2 1 min, 25 sec
Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) NSOL Navigation, Part 3 1 min, 54 sec
Assessments Opening a Northstar Location's Launch Page 1 min, 45 sec
Assessments Public vs Proctored Assessments 1 min, 53 sec

If you have 30 minutes, all of the above plus:

Topic Title Run Time
Learner Accounts Creating and Managing Learner Accounts 2 min, 34 sec
Learner Accounts Viewing Learner Progress 1 min, 36 sec
Learner Accounts Viewing Learner Usage Reports 1 min, 35 sec
Learner Accounts Organizing Learners Using Tags 2 min, 20 sec

If you have 45 minutes, all of the above plus:

Topic Title Run Time
Assessments Opening a Northstar Location's Launch Page 1 min, 45 sec
Assessments Public vs Proctored Assessments 1 min, 53 sec
Assessments Invalidating an Assessment 38 sec
Assessments Viewing Missed Questions 51 sec
Assessments Downloading Assessment Results 1 min, 05 sec
Proctoring Assessments Passwords and PINs 1 min, 27 sec
Proctoring Assessments Proctored Assessment - Using Proctor PIN 1 min, 13 sec
Proctoring Assessments Proctored Assessment - By Test Taker Request 1 min, 08 sec
Proctoring Assessments Claiming Badges 42 sec
Proctoring Assessments Printing a Certificate 52 sec
Proctoring Assessments Merging Certificates 1 min, 16 sec
Proctoring Assessments Changing the Name on a Certificate 55 sec

And if you need an Admin refresher:

Topic Title Run Time
Admin Portal Managing Staff Accounts 2 min, 12 sec
Admin Portal Editing Location Info 2 min, 00 sec

What are the latest updates for Northstar users?

The Northstar resource is constantly under development, with new assessments, new NSOL modules, and new resources for learners. Here is a list of the updates since our statewide subscription began in October 2021:

Update Summary Release Date
Assessment for Telehealth available in Spanish August 2022
NSOL module for PowerPoint available in English August 2022
Assessment for Basic Computer Skills available in Spanish July 2022
NSOL module for Basic Computer Skills available in Spanish July 2022
Assessment for Telehealth available in English April 2022
NSOL module for Excel available in English April 2022
Curriculum for Information Literacy available December 2021

What other resources are available to my library for Northstar?

Please remember that there is a lot of support available to you in the Resources tab of the Admin Portal of Northstar. Additionally, we have prepared some resources specific to our grant that you may find useful, including flyers, bookmarks, sample press releases, and digital assets.  Those are located with OPLIN's other Marketing & Training Materials at

Which libraries are "live" with Northstar now?

There are a number of libraries that have implemented Northstar locally, and they are great examples of the many ways that Northstar could be used in your community:

What comes next after Northstar?

Northstar is a tremendous resource for your library and your community, but it might be just the start for your community.  Many libraries are building on their long-standing commitment to closing the digital divide by working towards digital equity and digital inclusion.

Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy.

Digital Inclusion refers to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies.

Digital Inclusion requires

  • Affordable, Robust Internet Service
  • Internet-Enabled Devices
  • Digital Literacy Training
  • Quality Technical Support
  • Applications & Content

Digital navigators can help people with many of these aspects.

Digital Navigators are trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices. Digital navigation services include ongoing assistance with affordable internet access, device acquisition, technical skills, and application support.

There are several ways to think of digital navigation. Digital inclusion researchers have suggested four archetypes of digital navigation work:

  • Intervention Specialists - people who provide others with quick answers, basic support, and network referrals
  • Digital-Inclusion Specialists - people who are dedicated trainers to whom intervention specialists make referrals
  • Social-Change Agents - people who have trusted community relationships and a deep understanding of the systemic issues for their community
  • Functional-Skill Builders - people who align skills training with specific goals and outcomes

Many library staff find themselves in the roles of intervention specialist or digital inclusion specialist. Your library may want to partner with other community agencies to connect patrons with social-change agents and functional-skill builders.

Here are some other resources and potential partners for you to consider as you plan next steps in helping your community achieve digital inclusion for all:

Security Awareness

Security Awareness oplin Thu, 10/07/2021 - 12:52

DNS Filtering with Cisco Umbrella

OPLIN provides a subscription to Cisco Umbrella for every Ohio public library. Cisco Umbrella filters content by passing DNS requests through their managed DNS servers. Configuring Cisco Umbrella as your library's public DNS servers improves security by filtering malicious domains. Learn how to get started (

Vulnerability Notification:

CISA Cyber Hygiene Vulnerability Scanning

OPLIN Participates in CISA's Cyber Hygiene vulnerability scans for OPLIN IP addresses. OPLIN will periodically send you the vulnerability report for your library's IP addresses. To update who receives the report, or for methodology details, please email


The Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center provides pro-active security advisories and other services for State and Local Government agencies, including incident response, weekly reports of malicious domains/IPs, tapletop exercses, education materials, webinars from other state agencies, and more.

OPLIN Port Scanning Service

On request, OPLIN can perform a port scan of your library's public IP addresses, and provide you with a report of the results. Get in touch with OPLIN at to discuss your project, needs and goals.

Best Practices:

CIS Security

The Center for Internet Security publishes a list of 18 controls, a set of best practices for managing organizational security practices. The CIS Controls comply with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. The CIS Controls are an excellent place to start when designing security procedures or policy for your organization. A CIS SecureSuite membership is free to State and Local Government agencies who sign up for MS-ISAC. Resources include secure configuration benchmarks and hardened system images.

NCCoE: Protecting Data from Ransomware

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and NIST collaborated on this brief, essential guide for IT and managed service providers to ensure adequate backup planning and solutions are in place to protect an organization's critical data from loss and destruction. "Protecting Data from Ransomware and Other Data Loss Events: A Guide for Managed Service Providers to Conduct, Maintain, and Test Backup Files."

CISA Ransomware Guide

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and MS-ISAC publish a joint Ransomware Guide, a "one-stop resource with best practices and ways to prevent, protect and/or respond to a ransomware attack." Review and implement best practices for preventing a ransomware attack, and a detailed guide of how to respond to an active ransomware incident. The guide includes federal response contacts, free services provided by CISA, and links to best practices for securing common business-critical infrastructure.

CISA Cyber Essentials

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency is a federal entity that provides free resources to support cybersecurity in all government entities. CISA's Cyber Essentials framework is an accessible toolkit of best practices for small businesses and local government to help guide procedure and policy. CISA offers many services, including risk assessment, penetration testing, web application scanning, cyber infrastructure survey, and more.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute for Standards and Technology's Cybersecurity Framework is a comprehensive set of guidelines to help organizations manage the security of information, assets, and resources. The NIST cybersecurity framework provides guidance to help identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from security threats. The NIST framework is broadly recognized as industry best practice.…



Ohio's TechCred program reimburses employers for the cost of technical training leading to certification for current and prospective employees. A broad range of technical training is eligible, and the application process is open frequently.


The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education maintains a list of free and low-cost resources for online cybersecurity training.


The Ohio Cyber Range Institute is a partnership between higher education and state government to improve the cybersecurity awareness and education of Ohio's citizens and organizations. Part of the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee, the OCRI is available to libraries to host classes on the range's virtual environment. Sign up to gain access to detailed information.


Online, on-demand cybersecurity training program, free to employees of state and local government. Cybersecurity courses are organized according to the NICCS Cyber SEcurity Workforce Framework, and range from beginning to advanced.

Website Audits

Website Audits oplin Thu, 12/29/2016 - 08:50

*Website Kit clients ONLY click here for more information about audits*

Wondering if your library's website measures up to current best practices in web design?  

OPLIN now offers a professional audit of your library's website.  You will receive a detailed, written report, evaluating the following areas of potential concern:

  • Accessibility
  • Speed
  • Images
  • Content issues
  • Navigation
  • Search
  • Fonts
  • Responsive design
The report includes further resources to learn more about the problems found on the site. There is no cost for this service. OPLIN will audit up to four (4) Ohio public library websites per month, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Your library does not have to use OPLIN's Website Kit service to request an audit.
**Sign your library up for an audit slot **