Madison County Library Director Veronica Grooms has seen several positive changes since the library received new computers last summer. “The waiting list is down, a lot,” she said in a recent interview.
The library got the computers from funding through a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) federal grant. The Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2) worked with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments to identify locations where TXC2 could expand broadband access and adoption in Texas communities, particularly in rural areas. Computer training classes are also conducted at the library through the grant.
Grooms said the library sees a large number of students around 3:30 p.m. Many of them work on PowerPoint presentations until the library closes at 5 p.m. “The extra machines take the pressure off,” she said. Now people know they can usually get on a system, and there are more users.
The librarian also sees increased use for work related activities such as searching for jobs, filling out applications, and updating resumes. This is even more pronounced on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the Madisonville workforce center is closed. Also on Tuesdays, the library is open until 7 p.m.
With the faster machines and increased capacity, Grooms said there is now an informal group of ladies who are going back to school through distance learning. They meet regularly and support each other in continuing their education.
In addition to faster machines and reliable broadband connections, a grant from Microsoft let TXC2 put Office 2010 on the new systems. With this in place, future training classes are planned to teach Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, and other software programs.