July/ August 2011, Volume 3, Issue 7
Check Your Calendars!!
Indian Education Summit
SDLA Annual Conference
SD Festival of Books
AASL National Conference
Featured e-Resources of the Month
Go beyond the book with eResources
Novel Destinations has patrons scavenging for clues
Fifteen South Dakota libraries have their patrons “scavenging” for clues in their communities as a part of the Novel Destinations program. Co-sponsored by the State Library and the South Dakota Humanities Council, this free program targeted libraries who serve populations from 1,000 — 10,000. Two children’s books, two teen books and two adult books were given to each participating library – one copy to be kept by the citizen who finds it and one copy to be kept by the library to add to their collection. The participating libraries are: Haakon County Library, Edgemont Public Library, Cozard Memorial Library, Faith Public/School Library, Hot Springs Public Library, Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library, Northwest Regional Library, Belle Fourche Public Library, Potter County Library, Dell Rapids Carnegie Library, Woonsocket Community Library, Dorothee Pike Memorial Library, Moody County Library, Faulk County Library and Beresford Public Library.
Positive impact reported by Opportunity Online Hardware Grant participants
“The Opportunity Online grant has made a huge impact on our library and community,” said Maryls Walz, Leola Public Library Director. Walz’s library was one of 23 libraries in South Dakota to participate in the grant, now in its final phase. “We went from two very old computers that were very slow and worked when they felt like it to four updated desktop computers and one laptop,” Walz continued. “Our town council also purchased a work station table for the computers.”
Sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the State Library, the grant targeted libraries based on poverty level and number and age of computers. The grant included money for new public access computers, equipment and maintenance, technology plan development and advocacy training.
Technology improvements for patrons and increased advocacy abilities for librarians are two positive results of the grant.
Nancy Munger, Kimball Public Library Director, reports that the grant “has made it possible for our library to purchase four new computers for our patron use, which allows us to have enough computers so that we don't have patrons waiting to use a computer.”
Patrons and staff at Vermillion Public Library have avoided using a slow 2004 PC with no thumb drive access. The grant allowed the library to replace it, according to Library Director Jane Larson. “With budget cuts the last two years, we have not been able to replace our PCs in a very timely manner. We will be thrilled when we finally get the new computer operational this week,” Larson said. “Thanks so much for coordinating this grant program. Our patrons thank you too.”
Erica Rorvik, director of Moody County Resource Center said that the grant alleviated patron and staff frustration. “Before the grant, we had computers that were constantly unreliable... Now through the grant, we have four quick computers that are reliable and are able to keep up with patrons' needs. Since they have been installed, our computer usage has increased tremendously!”
Grant County Library Director, Robin Schrupp, points out the Opportunity Online grant’s benefit to small rural libraries. Her statistics show a continual increase in computer usage by both adults and young people. She said, “The grant has helped our library provide extra computers to help meet those demands, and allowed us to put more county dollars into other areas of the library that need attention. These new computers have also allowed our branch libraries to provide Internet access to the residents of those smaller rural communities where it is greatly appreciated.”
Cyndie Harlan, Director of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library, concluded, “The impact has been profound from our perspective. Prior to the Gates Grant our library had four old, tired, outdated and mismatched public access computers and a laser printer that has been making mighty strange noises for years (literally) and we have just been holding our breath waiting for it to finally die. Now, we have four new HP desktops all with Windows 7, a color laser printer and a dandy little wireless scanner. Our patrons are happy, the tourists are happy and we are proud to be able to offer them all a good computer experience. It doesn't sound like much but, it certainly has greatly impacted the quality of service that we are able to provide and that means a lot to us!”
SD survey results similar to national results
The participating libraries did their part to raise required matching funds, take surveys and computer inventories and submit paperwork at scheduled times. The South Dakota Opportunity Online Hardware Program portion of the Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study (PLFTAS) results aligned closely with national responses.
Of participating SD libraries:
- 80 percent indicated positive community impact. National response was the same.
- 70 percent indicated implementing a technology replacement/maintenance plan for public computers. National response was 74 percent.
- 46 percent indicated confidence in securing public funding for technology. National response was 52 percent.
Survey results showed that participating SD libraries thought it was easy to raise the required matching funds (87 percent ease in phase 1, 65 percent ease in phase 2). Respondents said they were successful fundraisers because they demonstrated the value of free computing, and they advocated and gained community support. They listed these reasons as barriers to fundraising: government unawareness of library technology needs, lack of library staff time, lack of community resources and lack of commitment from government.
Opportunity Online is the last BMGF grant to fund hardware purchases directly. The foundation is working with agencies such as IMLS to discern its future role in strengthening libraries nationwide. Two considerations may be to offer competitive grants or innovation funds.
State libraries can use the data and comments provided in the Opportunity Online Hardware portion of the PLFTAS to help public libraries continue technology planning, funding and sustainability by providing additional resources and training.
The grant has empowered Walz of Leola to plan for a library future that includes accommodating more patrons from near and far. “The attendance has increased in the library. We are next door to the town's only hotel/inn. Patrons who are staying there stop at the library to use the computers since Internet is not available at the inn. My goal now is to let the people know what is available from these computers. For example, the different websites they can use from the State Library website. I am very happy and grateful that this grant was available and that we qualified. It was a lot of work but well worth it.”
Participating libraries include:
- A.H. Brown Public Library, Mobridge
- Alexander Mitchell Public Library, Aberdeen
- Alexandria Public Library, Alexandria
- Armour Public Library, Armour
- Belle Fourche Public Library, Belle Fourche
- Bison Public Library, Bison
- Deadwood Public Library, Deadwood
- Emma Burnham Public Library, Frederick
- Faulk County Library, Faulkton
- Grant County Public Library, Milbank, Revillo Branch
- Ihanktonwan Community/College Library, Marty
- Kimball Centennial Library, Kimball
- Leola Public Library, Leola
- Marcus P. Beebe Memorial Library, Ipswich
- Moody County Resource Center, Flandreau
- Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library, Lead
- Rev. Martin Bieber Public Library, Bowdle
- Selby Community/School Library, Selby
- Sinte Gleska University Library, Mission
- Sisseton Memorial Library, Sisseton
- Vermillion Public Library, Vermillion
- Wagner Public Library, Wagner
- Whitewood Public Library, Whitewood