Niles District Library’s new computer lab unveiled

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Nancy Campbell knew when she took over as director for the Niles District Library that the library's public computer service at some stage would have to be improved.
That's why she was glad to welcome the public to the Niles library's new state-of-the-art computer lab, which opened on Monday.
Campbell said donations from the Hunter Foundation and the Plym Foundation worth $22,500 each, as well as a $16,000 federal grant obtained through the Library Service and Technology Act, enabled the library to create the new computer lab.
The new lab consists of 18 computers, six of which are for children and 12 for adults.
Campbell said the six children's computers will be available for children under the age of 18.
They will be monitored more closely and the children won't be allowed to chat, Campbell said.
She said two full-time IT-librarians will assist the public using the computers.
Campbell said the main reason for creating a new computer lab was to move the library's public computer service away from the library's reference section.
With 18 new computers, compared to the six computers with internet access and two word processing computers the library offered before, Campbell hopes people will have to wait less for access to a computer.
The new computers, all of which have flat screens, Microsoft XP Professional software, 256 Mb ram and zip drives, offers a solid upgrade from the library's old computers.
In addition to Microsoft Office, all of the computers have internet access, as well as Encarta Encyclopedia, which is an online lexicon.
Ruchi Tyagi is one of the IT-librarians who will assist the public who come to use the computers.
Although the lab had only been open to the public for a few hours Monday, Ruchi had plenty to do.
In addition to being able to ask the two IT-librarians for help, Ruchi said the public will have access to a Gateway online tutorial program, which teaches people how to use the internet, microsoft applications and a number of other things.
Woodrow Wallace from Buchanan was among those who came try out the Niles library's new computer lab Monday morning.
The Davenport University, Mishawaka, Ind., marketing student was impressed with what he found.
This fall the library will offer computer classes.
Campbell said people interested in information about the classes should sign up for the library's newsletter where the classes will be promoted.
The classes will consist of one to two hour workshops and will have as many as 12 people in each class.
In those classes, the public will have a chance to learn basic computer skills and how to use e-mail and office applications.
The new computer lab will have its grand opening in the second or third week of August.

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