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Stimulus funding brings more computers to Glens Falls' Crandall library

2010-10-06T20:39:00Z Stimulus funding brings more computers to Glens Falls' Crandall libraryBy BLAKE JONES bjones@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
October 06, 2010 8:39 pm  • 

GLENS FALLS -- On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, there wasn't an empty seat in Crandall Public Library's computer room.

As the 30 or so people worked in front of glowing monitors, officials gathered in the next room to talk about broadband funding that could benefit library computer users as early as next month.

Thanks to a $245,000 stimulus grant, Crandall Public Library will soon add 15 workstations, along with more staff to help individuals improve their computer skills and find jobs.

Crandall is one of 30 New York libraries to receive federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program money, which will be used to create "public computing centers."

In Glens Falls, the funding will beef up many services already offered, while adding new features like video conferencing and vocational counseling.

Computer training classes will cover basic computing, typing, word processing, spreadsheets, publishing and presentations. Job support groups, interview preparation, and career counseling will also be offered.

The grant will create the equivalent of two full-time positions to help provide those services, said library Director Christine McDonald. Crandall will add a part-time information technology position; the rest of the work might be contracted through Northeast Career Planning, she said.

Because the funding was a one-time deal, the services won't go on indefinitely.

The idea is to meet an "acute" need in the short term, said U.S. Rep Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls.

"We hope that after two years we have the economy moving so much that we can pull back on some of the vocational stuff," he said, during the grant announcement ceremony.

According to McDonald, the broadband funding helps meet the library's growing demand for Internet access and job training.

Computer usage increased 150 percent from 2008 to 2009 and continues to climb, she said, as the down economy makes the library a go-to resource for job-seekers.

"When a person loses a job, they lose their office," McDonald said.

Mario Musolino, executive deputy commissioner for the state Labor Department, said that by outfitting the unemployed with new skills, this initiative could, in turn, help the job market.

"There are jobs out there, but to access those jobs today, you need skills in technology," he said at the library on Wednesday.

Crandall was selected for funding because of the demographics and unemployment rate in Glens Falls, the library's strong base of programs, and the willingness of library officials to work within the grant parameters, said Linda Todd with the New York State Library, which distributed the money.

Todd said that, of the grants she manages for the library system, stimulus funding has some of the more demanding reporting requirements to ensure every dollar spent is tracked. In addition, it is awarded on a reimbursement basis, so participating libraries have to be able to front the computing center expenses.

"The stimulus funding is wonderful, but it's a lot of work," she said.

The computing center at Crandall library will be up and running by Nov. 1. New computers will be added to the existing computer and reading rooms, while vocational services will be offered in other parts of the building.

Classes will tentatively begin Oct. 25, and those interested can sign up immediately. The library's computers will not be available on Oct. 13 and 14 due to technical upgrades.

For more information about the library, visit www.crandalllibrary.org or call 792-6508.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(17) Comments

  1. independentguy
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    independentguy - October 09, 2010 12:16 pm
    milfighter: have you been to the library. it's packed all the time.
  2. MilFighter
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    MilFighter - October 09, 2010 4:43 am
    scooter said: "A comment like this only strengthens the assertion I made earlier in this thread."

    Your assertion is really not an assertion at all. Most people don't spend time in libraries anymore due to modern technology and the ease of getting the same information at home on the internet. That doesn't mean that people are less smart, quite the opposite, they are using the more convenient resources available to them and incorporating time management. I can get the same info sitting here as I can if I go to a library.
  3. scooter
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    scooter - October 08, 2010 7:26 am
    listen2me said: "Once again the liberals are coming out of the closet. I know don't ask, don't tell."

    A comment like this only strengthens the assertion I made earlier in this thread.

  4. Doubter_2
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    Doubter_2 - October 07, 2010 4:06 pm
    Yes, I did read the entire article...
    If you prefer we could say we spent $50,000 for the computers and $200,000 for the job training, keyboarding, etc.
    Still a waste of money!
    You honestly think your are getting your money's worth???
    At best I would say it is overspending by 3 fold.
  5. brian
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    brian - October 07, 2010 3:14 pm
    Toast: I understand your point but the Internet is the Internet. You take the good with the bad. Some people read the newspaper for comics and sports. Should it be banned from the library? Should the C & D sections be removed?
  6. brian
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    brian - October 07, 2010 3:13 pm
    The great tragedy of the "stimulus" package is not just that we incurred a ton of debt but that we did so for ephemeral things, rather than lasting ones. The below is a great example. I love the library and always vote for its budget but this is what's wrong with so much of the stimulus. We're going into huge debt so the libraries like ours can have a few more computers which, like all computers, will be obsolete in 5 years. Responsible debt spending is taking out a mortgage to buy a home (or the govt equivalent: building schools, improving infrastructure). The stimulus is like maxing out your credit card on a vacation.
  7. listen2me
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    listen2me - October 07, 2010 2:27 pm
    Once again the liberals are coming out of the closet. I know don't ask, don't tell. Why is the library performing functions that the Department of Labor should be providing then? Are we going to close the dept. of Labor to prevent duplication of services? Why is tax money going to the dept. of Labor?
  8. independentguy
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    independentguy - October 07, 2010 12:01 pm
    i agree that investing in computers was a good idea if they are used for enhancing one's skills for a job. these new stations should be only used for vocational activities. that's all. maybe put them in a separate area and monitored. since the soup kitchen can not get these activities, might as well give it to the library. as for the One Stops, they are a joke. waste of taxpayers money right there.
  9. scooter
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    scooter - October 07, 2010 11:52 am
    The loudest opponents to this probably don't spend much time in a library anyway.
  10. Localguy101
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    Localguy101 - October 07, 2010 10:51 am
    Doubter_2 said: "Waste of money! We want our government to be frugal but then praise buying 15 computers for over $200,000?"

    Did you even read the entire article? Yes it involves buying more computers but it also provides funding for "Computer training classes will cover basic computing, typing, word processing, spreadsheets, publishing and presentations. Job support groups, interview preparation, and career counseling will also be offered."

    So no, they are not spending $200,000 on computers.
  11. upthehill
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    upthehill - October 07, 2010 9:55 am
    Sounds like another good reason to get rid of the ridiculous, useless "One Stop Shop" agency which is SUPPOSED to do the same thing the library is doing here!
  12. listen2me
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    listen2me - October 07, 2010 9:30 am
    Yep thats all they need is more things like this. They will be asking for more money to help pay the added overhead once the stimulus funding is gone. The stimulus grant money should have been given back to the taxpayers.
  13. rdc
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    rdc - October 07, 2010 8:51 am
    toast makes some good points but you can't force people to use their time wisely - if they want to surf the net, they will. And sometimes we all need to unwind. This library (and the people who work there) is one of the best things about our area. I'm glad to see that it continues to grow
  14. Rich-P
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    Rich-P - October 07, 2010 5:41 am
    I'm all for libraries receiving all of the expansion that they ask for. Like anything, they can be used for serious work or goofing off. Its unfortunate that a spin has to be put on new projects to appease nay-sayers.
  15. Doubter_2
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    Doubter_2 - October 06, 2010 11:36 pm
    Waste of money! We want our government to be frugal but then praise buying 15 computers for over $200,000?
  16. hurtman
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    hurtman - October 06, 2010 9:24 pm
    What a bargain! $245,000 for 15 computers and 2.5 jobs. Way to bring home the bacon. So are these computers going to be reserved for job seekers and computer training or can John Doe stop in and play an hour of solitare? I hope our children and grandchildren will be proud to be paying for this with the debt incurred from the stimulus.
  17. toast
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    toast - October 06, 2010 8:54 pm
    I'm absolutely not against the library gaining more computers - people use them, and they bring people into the library, people who do also look for books and DVDs while there. However, the quotes and ideals are unrealistic. Every time I've walked through that lab, most people are staring at Facebook, not looking for jobs. Also, I myself already have higher than intermediate technology skills, I do not at all need to be trained, yet I can't find these magical, wonderful technology jobs that supposedly exist around here. Why train someone to have base Microsoft skills when jobs around here won't even hire someone with years of experience with those programs? Train them in something that actually exists here (mostly service and health sector jobs).


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