Q. What is Pharos?
A. Pharos is an automated system that allows patrons to log on to library public computers. Pharos tracks the time each patrons spends on the computer and enforces the library's time limits, enabling all a chance to use the computers. Pharos also allows patrons to sign up in advance and maintains the queue so that all patrons get to use computers in the order they came in to the library. All of this is carried out automatically, freeing library staff from the time-consuming and occasionally difficult tasks of tracking queues and time limits manually.
Q. What do patrons need to sign up for a public computer with Pharos?
A. A library card in good standing and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Overdues or fines may prevent patrons from using the computer; each library sets their own policies on what is allowed. Expired cards must be renewed before they can be used to sign on to Pharos.
Q. How does the patron sign up?
A. If a public computer is free, the patron can just sign on with a library card and begin the session. If a library chooses to use the optional Reservaion and Queue Stations, then when all computers are in use, the patron can sign on to the Reservation Station which will add the patron to the queue of those waiting for access. The Queue Station display shows which patrons are able to use computers as they become free. Note that not all libraries choose to purchase the Reservation Station. In such cases, the patron must approach library staff to sign on to the queue.
Q. If a patron's time is up and there are free computers, can the time be extended?
A. Yes, library staff may manually add time to any session as they choose.
Q. What happens if there is a system failure?
A. In the event that the Pharos system suffers an outage, the computers can still be used without any time or queue management. This is a system setting that the library must choose to enable. If the library chooses not to enable this function, the computers will be unusable until Pharos service is restored.
Q. Can I post this information at my library?
A. Absolutely! Feel free to modify the text to reflect local practices or policies and use it on websites and other materials.
Costs vary depending on local conditions but include:
Setup and First Year of Service
- Initial software purchase & setup = $180 per public-access PC
- Maintenance = $0 (included in first year setup & installation)
Second and Subsequent Years of Service
- Maintenance and Support = $30 per public-access PC
Optional Equipment Requirements
Customer Library must supply a PC for each of the following optional services if they wish to offer those services:
- Patron self-service Sign-Up Kiosk
- Patron self-service Queue Management Kiosk