This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pure Michigan. Pure Library. Northport, MI 49670. 24-7. A Lesson for All of Us

Birmingham Baldwin Library director Doug Koschik, usually pretty easy going guy, once expressed slightly  more than a little irritation at non resident wifi users who plugged into the Baldwin Library's electricity,  connected to the library's wifi, and stayed all day. Somebody should tell him about the Leelanau Township Library  in Northport, where mostly non residents (Northport is very tiny)  stay all day and sometimes all night using the library's electricity and wifi with nary a dirty look.

Michigan Libraries up north are not like the ones in Oakland County. Up north tourism is big business and the libraries roll out the red carpet for guests. From affluent communities like Leland on the Leelanau Peninsula  to modest ones like Kalaksaka, non residents are given equal access to computers and on the  premises facilities. In Northport a visitor may even request a library card. Many libraries have wifi high speed Internet access but what Northport's Leelanau Township Library provides is extraordinary.
24-7 Computing and Internet access on the Northport library bench. This picture was taken on Sunday Morning

My wife told me she saw people typing  on portable computers outside the Leelanau Township Library. She thought  they could connect to the Internet out there. I told  her they couldn't. They had portable computers that ran on batteries but that was about it. .When I visited the library I asked about this  and the librarian assured me they had outside wifi. I was impressed. The outside stuff only worked during library hours right ? No it was good 24 hours a day. OK but there was no electricity right ? You had to bring your own batteries right ? No there was electricity 24 hours a day. Just plug in under the bench. I was  amazed and soon found myself  using  my computer and connecting to the Internet 24-7 in company of boaters and fellow tourist  who also were in rapture of what is often referred to as the Northport Library bench.

Northport is the last town  before the tip of the Leelanau peninsula and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Every fall  the lighthouse hosts  Haunted Lighthouse tours. The only other thing north of Northport, is Woolsey Airport, a world war one vintage landing strip whose only guidance is a wind sock. The airport also features a functioning pay phone. In Northport you half expect  Angela Landsberry of  Murder She Wrote to ride by on her bicycle. Northport is  like New England but Pure Michigan.

And the lesson for all of  us ?  In tough times you can't go wrong by providing more than people expect.

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