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the Pioneer Planet.

The mad dash for public library Internet terminals begins shortly after 2 p.m. on school days. St. Paul students, some as young as 6 or 7, scramble to snare one of the coveted computers that provide free online access at neighborhood branches.

``Kids sometimes run to our sign-up sheets,\'\' says Kathy Heiderich, a city librarian who heads up the St. Paul Public Library system\'s Internet committee. ``It\'s like ice cream.\'\'