Library News & Notes: Carson Library bridging the digital divide |

Library News & Notes: Carson Library bridging the digital divide

Sandy Foley

During the next three years, the Carson City Library will add 105 new computers, bringing the total to 125 computer stations for public use. Additionally, meeting room technology including SmartBoards, laptop stations, audio/visual and teleconferencing equipment all will be a part of the library’s technology collection to dramatically increase computing access at the main branch on Roop Street, as well as at the satellite branch in the city’s new Business Resource Innovation Center (BRIC) on East Proctor Street, across from City Hall.

Two full-time library positions, a business focused research librarian and an IT training/coaching/maintenance position, will primarily be assigned to the BRIC slated for opening late August or early September.

“We know the tools of hard-working people are technology and access to information. And we all know Carson City does not have adequate resources to meet that ever growing demand and need,” said Supervisor Robin Williamson who wrote letters of support for the project. “Public computing centers provide technology and training to everyone and good jobs are linked to good skills.”

What technology means to library users

In 2008, the library had almost 35,000 uses of its public computers. In 2009, that number skyrocketed to over 60,000. This dramatic increase is linked to the library’s privately funded expanded connectivity and computers, as well as the high unemployment rate, which has caused many patrons to cut back on home Internet access.

In a wired world patrons need library connectivity for job searches, resume creation and for job applications that only can be made online. The 20 library computers are constantly in use and the savvy staff is always willing to provide assistance.

With a computer and a library card, financial investors have access to Morningstar, a stock and mutual fund research and analysis site, normally available with a costly subscription. This valuable site can be accessed at home via or at the library.

The Hop and Mae Adams Foundation provided a cash match commitment of $162,658 to the $434,341 stimulus award. All expenditures must be exhausted by 2013. No additional city general funds or other local public funding sources are committed to the project.

Parking lot closure

Many of you are wondering why the library didn’t plan the closure for the technology upgrade at the same time the parking lot was being done.

The first phase of the technology upgrade was funded with a $75,000 federal Library Services and Technology act grant that had to be expended before June 30. Efforts were made to coordinate with the construction on Roop Street but they simply could not be done in the same time frame. We understand everyone’s frustration that the library had to do both project this summer, but both will provide a better and more accessible library.

Fun in your future

The summer reading program concludes in a party, noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at Mills Park. Face painting, homemade ice cream and prizes for readers and raffle winners highlight the afternoon. Prizes include four backpacks stuffed with beach toys, towels and books, teen backpacks (girls can win a Twilight bag with the books from the series and the pack for guys includes books for teen boys). The grand prizes for teens include four iPod shuffles.

This is a good chance for participants to see friends and get some good recommendations for books to enjoy in August. This program grows significantly every year, which is a testament to Youth Services Director Amber Sady, the enthusiastic Teen Advisory Board, the dedicated library staff and the library patrons young and old, who demonstrate a love of and interest in reading.

• Explore the World @ Your Library program will be presented at 6 p.m. Thursday in the library auditorium. Steve and Zohra McGoff will present information on Tunisia and Djibouti.

• Sandy Foley is vice chairperson for the Library Board of Trustees.