Lombard library to double number of computers for adults
The number of computers dedicated to adult Internet use at the Helen Plum Memorial Library in Lombard will soon double in response to increasing demand, officials said.
Library officials set aside about $12,000 in their 2011-12 budget to buy 12 desktop computers and connect them to the Internet, Director Bob Harris said.
"They will be very appreciated. Our Internet terminals are almost always full, Linda Schehl, the library's head of adult services, said. "In this economy, I think our usage has gone up on so many fronts it's needed.
The library averages 4,300 Internet use sessions a month, or 145 a day, said Julie Adamski, the library's systems support specialist. She estimates adult Internet use makes up 75 percent of those sessions.
Library card holders can spend two hours using one of 12 computers set aside for Internet use, Schehl said. Plum Library patrons often use the machines for job hunting.
"I just got laid off June 18 after nine and a half years, said Jamila Owens, who estimates she uses computers at the library about five times a month. "I hadn't even joined the library before and now I had to because I need other resources.
Owens, 36, of Lombard, said she used a computer and printer at the library Thursday to make finishing touches to a cover letter and print copies of her resume.
Once the library installs the new computers next summer, it will have 24 adult Internet use stations.
"With a population of 45,000, this has actually been needed for a long time, Schehl said.
The library employs one part-time systems support specialist to maintain all its public and staff computers, Harris said. Funds in the budget will allow the library to hire another part-time employee to help maintain the extra adult Internet use stations, he said.
"With the heavy usage at Plum library, equipment takes a beating and must be maintained well, Adamski said. "Adding another person will mean fewer 'out of order' signs and less frustration for computer users.
The installation of a scanner/copier and maintenance of older computers will complete the library's technology upgrades in the coming year, Harris said.
"People have been asking for a scanner, he said, and the machine the library is set to install will allow users to scan documents into pdf. html or word-processing formats.
The library's operating budget for 2011-12 is about $3.5 million. Harris said the library also is focusing on growing a reserve fund for maintenance and improvements to its building at 110 W. Maple St. in Lombard.