OHIO — The Ohio Public Library was recently awarded a $16,000 Digital Divide grant, which will provide funds for computer equipment, staff and community training at the library and Ohio Public Schools.
The grant program is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and seeks to provide access to computers, telecommunications technologies and related training to disadvantaged communities.
Ohio Library Director David Sprung and Ohio Schools Superintendent Sharon Sweger worked together in applying for the grant.
Sprung explained the grant will allow 15 new computers total, five desktops at the library and 10 laptops at the school. The library will also receive video equipment.
With this being the first time the library has received a Digital Divide grant, Sprung is excited to get started with program planning for his patrons. He said he was a little unsure at first if they had even gotten the grant, as they applied in March and didn’t find out about receiving it until July.
He explained the library has offered some technology courses throughout the past year, which were really well received. However, with limited funding he could only provide a few courses.
The grant will help bring back the popular technology courses and will offer various instructional classes on technology and computer programs, including resume writing, Windows 7 & 8 basic, Internet safety and browsing, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, tablets, job searched and basic computer operations.
Sprung hopes to target at least 100 individuals with the program.
Ohio Public Library has seen an increase in patrons using computers for various uses — whether it be for applying for jobs or for homework uses. Just in the last month, the library recorded 93 computer sign ins, which Sprung said is a higher number than usual.
Looking at the fiscal year report of the Ohio Public Library, 3,500 patrons came into the library throughout the last year, and there were 635 computer sign ins.
With the new computers starting to come into the library already, Sprung is scheduling classes and is hoping to have programs set up by the end of September, or early October.
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