WESTON, Conn. The Weston Public Library has transformed into a social meeting place for Westonites of all ages over the past year. No longer is it just a place where residents check in and check out books. It is now a place where residents come in and log on creating a high demand for much-needed technology upgrades at the Norfield Road building.
When Tropical Storm Irene and the historic Oct. 29 snowstorm rocked the region, Westonites were left in the dark. Many were scrambling to find connections to the outside world but found a home at the library. It was there that resident could warm up, log on and charge up.
We knew that several upgrades needed to be done, but I think the August storm made us do it a little bit faster, said library Director Karen Tatarka.
The librarys newfound popularity came at a price: slow Internet speeds. According to Tatarka, during the August storm, the high demand on the librarys IT services caused the system to slow down and even max out in some instances. It was then that library staff knew something needed to be done.
So the library, with financial help from the town and the Friends of the Weston Library, began installing upgrades. In December, the library, partnering with Hewlett Packard and Gifts in Kind International, secured several new features at a low price. With the cost divided among the three organizations, the library purchased a wireless printer, a laptop, two new monitors and six new computers for only $2,200. The library also upgraded its router to ensure a faster service with even more accessibility for residents.
The wireless printer, Tatarka said, allows any wireless device that has email capability can now be used to print documents or photos to our new color printer.
The six new computers also come fully loaded with Windows 7, Office 2010 and Internet Explorer 9. We also have an additional computer that has some extras loaded on it, such as photo-editing software, Office Professional and a screen-reading software for the visually impaired.
This was all just a fantastic deal that we are very, very grateful for, she said. The upgrades, Tatarka said, are appreciated. We have found that people come in, and they stay a little bit longer, which is something we like to see.
The library has several new initiatives on the horizon, including the creation of a business center that would include a scanner, online faxes and photo editing software. I am really excited about that, she said.
We are really happy about the upgrades, she said. "We want the library to be a community space for everyone, and I think this helps our vision."
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