New Computers Bring “Night and Day” Difference to Navasota Library

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New computers at the Navasota Public Library are making a “night and day” difference in customer experiences and increasing the number of patrons using the library, according to Library Director Cheryl Franklin.

Twelve new computers were installed August 8 by technicians from the Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2), a partnership of three state nonprofits recently awarded a $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. This stimulus program works to increase access to high speed Internet and provide computer and employment training at Texas libraries and community centers.

Before the new machines arrived, library patrons could use eight computers, some more than ten years old. Franklin said people frequently waited to get online or simply left. Work began months ago to get the right number of computers available for patrons and visitors. TXC2 workers cooperated with Navasota officials and advisers from the Brazos Valley Council of Governments and determined twelve machines could ease congestion and still leave enough floor space for other functions at the building, located at 1411 East Washington.

TXC2 program specialist John Dees said the installation went smoothly. Dees has worked for more than a decade with rural Texas libraries. “This was a really fast setup,” he said.

Since the new computers were installed, Franklin said a lot of people have used the free broadband access to look for work and fill out job applications. She is also looking forward to the arrival of two computer desks designed for use by people with disabilities. Part of the federal grant includes installation of two large screen monitors. Once the desks arrive, it will be easier for the library to assist people in wheelchairs. Ms. Franklin anticipates still more traffic from nearby neighbors with these latest additions, as the Canterbury Villa nursing home is next to the library.

Ms. Franklin has worked for the library for 22 years, the last 12 as the director. In addition to its work with established library members, she sees the new computers providing services to a growing number of Navasota and Grimes county visitors and tourists. She said a lot of sales people come in to check email, and touring bicyclists frequently stop by to use the machines.

In the coming months, plans include TXC2 providing a trainer program specialist and offering free classes in using computers and increasing job search and employment skills in conjunction with the library and the Navasota workforce center.

Source: Technology for All

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