"The library has received the final installment of an Opportunity Online hardware grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation," Library Director Leon Gyles said. "This grant was awarded to help provide free, high-quality computer access for Scotland county residents."
The two-year grant program provides funding to replace and add public computer workstations at the public library, according to Gyles. This year’s grant provided computer workstations and management software for the main library on West Church Street in Laurinburg, and for laptop computers for the new bookmobile with matching dollars that were raised through local government funding.
"The final upgrades relating to the grant will be installed at the library on June 17," Gyles said. "Although the library will be open, there will be no computers available for public use during the upgrade as additional workstations and management software are installed."
Features of the software upgrade will include allowing patrons to make their own reservations for a library computer and assisting patrons with printing documents from online sources.
Former Interim Director and current Director's Assistant Margaret Uncapher said that with almost 40 percent of Americans still lacking internet access at home, the Scotland County Memorial Library is a critical link to technology for many county residents who cannot afford the service on their own.
"People are using the library’s computers to apply for a job, to earn long-distance learning degrees, to start and advance their small businesses, to find health information, to get government information, and to complete school projects, among other uses," Uncapher said. "In today’s society, computers and the internet have become central to how people look for and use information to improve their lives."
Gyles asks that the public "please feel free" to contact the library staff at 276-0563 with any questions.