On Tuesday, October 26th, the Oswego Public Library will officially open its new Public Computing Center (PCC). The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 am in the Community Room to celebrate its opening. The Center, funded through a grant filed by the New York State Library Development, a unit of the NYS Education Department, is part of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. This grant, a total of $244,517 received over 2 year period, will allow the Oswego Public Library to establish one of 30 state-of-the-art computer centers in New York State designed to increase public access to high speed broadband services.
“This new center will be aimed at providing increased computer skills to our community. Classes to be held here will range from the very basic introductory lessons to how someone completes job applications, searches the internet for reliable information, obtains health and financial information and improves their life in general by using computers,” said Library Director Carol Ferlito.
Under this grant, the library will be hiring Maureen Southorn to act as Director for the Computer Center and 2 part time technology instructors to implement and assist in the training of individuals using the center. The library has contracted with Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County to provide classes to individuals with no or very little computer skills. “We have over 30 computers available to the public and will be expanding available hours beyond 60 hours every week! We cannot wait for the classes and individualized help to begin,” enthused Edward Elsner, Librarian. The library has purchased additional computer equipment for the center that addresses individuals with special needs and will be adding 15 laptop computers to be used in the community room for larger group instruction. The computer lab, located on the lower level of the library, will be open daily for classes and one-on-one training. During the 2nd year of the grant, the library will be installing equipment which will allow for high-definition video conferencing in the Community Room.
“I look forward to connecting with other organizations in the community as we set up programs and classes,” says Maureen Southorn, new PCC Director. “At the Center we will be offering the people of Oswego free, hands-on opportunities to practice using technology and to learn new skills that will improve their lives.”
“This is an extremely exciting time for our library. This grant allows us to provide services that are greatly needed by our community,” said Ferlito.