Library receives Chromebook grant; State Librarian visits
Last week, the Oneida County Library received a visit from State Librarian Stephanie Bailey-White, who came bearing Chromebooks. The Chromebooks were part of a grant written by Bridger DeJong as part of his Senior project, and are intended to provide electronic resources to seniors and low-income patrons. The Chromebooks, which come with their own backpacks, will primarily be offered to seniors and others who are interested in learning computer skills and internet communication. A series of training modules are required in order to receive and use the devices. After the successful completion of the training, users will be allowed to keep the Chromebooks.
Stephanie Bailey-White explained that the funds were part of a statewide digital access program, designed to overcome barriers to on-line access created by affordability and, in some cases, rural environments. “We know some people don’t have internet at home,” Oneida County Library director Kathy Kent said. “But wi-fi is free to use here at the library. We had wireless extenders put in so that our wi-fi can be accessed outside the building into the park area. Anyone who wants to be connected should be able to be.”
In the lead-up to the delivery of the laptops, Kathy Kent and Bridger DeJong visited with various groups, including seniors, to explain the program and spread the word about the resources. Connectivity can be a critical part of staying in touch with friends and family, finding information resources, applying for job services, handling finances and many other tasks often taken for granted today. The program provides training on how to use basic computer and internet technology for those who may find technology a bit confusing.
“I think Kathy has gone above and beyond here,” Bailey-White said. “She’s made sure that people who may be interested in this have definitely had the chance to hear about it.” The Library provides many resources to the community, with technology programs, after school events for kids, eBook services, and adult education classes at night. The library is constantly growing and improving its offerings to the community, which is why it was named Idaho Library of the Year in 2021.
“We have a lot of other great things coming up,” Kent said. The Library’s Halloween night is coming up in October, and more details on that event will follow in future issues.