Library computers a blessing for many

by W. Winston Skinner

Many computer-savvy Cowetans are relying on the Coweta Public Library System when they need to use the Internet or print computer reports.

They are part of a nationwide trend.

Many people who have had computers at home decide they cannot afford to repair them when they break down.

“A lot of people do not have Internet or computers at home,” Jimmy Bass, CPLS director, said at the trustee meeting Tuesday in Grantville. He said a recent Consumer Reports magazine suggested using the Internet at the library as a way to save money.

Other aspects of the still sluggish economy make the library a good place to use a computer. People who need a job often find they cannot fill out a paper application these days but must apply online.

Traditional and non-traditional students have long been library patrons. While they can research and write at many locations with free wi-fi – such as at Starbucks or McDonald’s – they may still find the library a good place to print a term paper.

The library charges 15 cents per page for printing. “It’s pretty reasonable considering what those cartridges cost,” Bass said.

Efforts to expand bandwidth for the libraries’ computers are proceeding. By Aug. 15, “we’re supposed to have 10 times the bandwidth,” Bass said.

Library users now are often in a battle with “that little hourglass” on the computer screen, Bass said. “A lot of times during busy times, our people are just sitting.”

The library system is moving from a bandwidth of 6-8 to a bandwidth of 50.

At the board meeting on Tuesday, trustee Marianne Thomasson expressed concern about whether the libraries have enough computers. “You’re going to keep an eye on it to see if maybe we need some more?” she asked Bass.

Bass said he would, adding that CPLS is getting a state technology grant of $20,000 that could help with computer needs. “If we need them, we’ll get them,” he said.

AT&T is doing the computer upgrade. “They were telling me September, but now they’re telling me August,” Bass said.

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