UNION — The Union County Carnegie Library’s efforts to provide its patrons with the most up to date online information services and resources continued recently with the installation of 40 new computers.
Library Director Ben Loftis said that the library acquired the computers through a leasing agreement which will enable it to update its computer technology on a regular basis.
“We received a total of 40 computers and we didn’t purchase them,” Loftis said. “We’re leasing them through Applied Data which works with Hewlett-Packard.
“Leasing them provides us with a sustainable model for consistent technology upgrades,” he said. “By entering a lease agreement we have the opportunity to undergo a technology refresh every three years, meaning that when our lease runs out we can begin a new lease with new computers. Our hope is that through our lease agreement we can upgrade our computers in a timely manner.”
The new computers replace the library’s old ones which Loftis said were in some cases as much as 8-10 years old and due for replacement. He said that all of the new computers are now in service, being used by patrons in all four sections — chldren, teens, adults, and genealogy — of the library and by library staff.
Loftis said the new computers and the leasing agreement with Applied Data are in keeping with the library’s efforts to provide its patrons the latest in online services and the technology to access them.
“In a lot of ways this is in line with the new services the library is offering,” Loftis said. “We strive to meet the technology needs of our patrons. As computers play a larger and larger role, it is our goal to make these technologies available to the public.”
Over the past several months, the library has taken a number of steps to increase the online services it provides its patrons including:
• Joining the Jasmine Digital Library, a consortium of South Carolina libraries using the Overdrive e-book platform. Overdrive is the leading e-book vendor and platform for libraries. Membership in the consortium makes e-books and e-audio books available to patrons which are compatible with the variety of e-readers including the Kindle, Nook, and Apple products. This has enabled library patrons to access e-books using their library card. The service enables patrons to check out e-books from home and makes new materials available to patrons in a wide variety of formats.
• Linking its website with the SCLENDS catalog, DISCUS resources, the HeritageQuest ancestry site, and the UCCL website providing easy access to those sites. The library’s homepage also includes links to Learn a Language, a free language learning website; the South Carolina Day by Day Literacy Calendar offered by the SC State Library, featuring resources for literacy activities with young children; and, through the Day by Day calendar, TumbleBooks, an online collection of talking picture books. Also included on the library’s homepage is a link to the SC Department of Employment and Workforce’s MyBenefits login page. The library periodically adds new links to provide easy access to needed, relevant websites.
• Partnering with RBdigital from Recorded Books (Prince Frederick, MD), to offer Zinio for Libraries through its website. Zinio is the world’s largest newsstand, offering multi-user access to popular publications. With Zinio, library patrons have unlimited multi-user access to complete digital magazines which can easily be viewed on most Internet-enabled devices inside or outside of the library. Zinio’s technology digitally recreates a magazine page for page, including full color pictures, intuitive navigation, key word article search and interactive elements such as audio and video. Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and Reader’s Digest are just a few of the popular titles available.
Loftis said the library will continue to work to ensure its patrons have access to these and other services as they become available by constantly updating the computer technology that will provide them with that access.
“Our goal is to maintain up to date technology to provide the best possible services to our patrons,” Loftis said.