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Mooers Free Library now part of the wireless revolution

MOOERS A new computer and wireless Internet are two of the newest additions to the Mooers Free Library. The library is one of many to receive a matching grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose goal is to provide access to information technology and expand educational opportunities. According to Edie Morelock, director of the Mooers Free Library, the grant provided the library with two computers eight years ago, paying for 75 percent of the cost. Recently, one of the computers had to be replaced, with the library providing 50 percent of the cost. [The foundation] wants us to become what they call sustainable and be able to raise money to purchase new computers every three to five years, explained Morelock. Because this is the last time theyll be doing this type of grant. Morelock has also undergone training to provide the skills to ask for funding in the future. Which has been really good because now were not afraid to go out and try to make money to replace the computers, she said. The library has also decided to add wireless Internet to provide the public free access to on-line information, a purchase they did not get from the Gates grant. So, you can come in and use your laptop and hook up to our connection, explained Morelock. Anyone can come in and sit down; its just so neat. After receiving several requests for wireless Internet and noticing an increase in people using the libraries computers, Morelock saw a need to add the technology. Morelock noted one man visits the library at least once a week to check his e-mail with the librarys computers, as he does not have his own. I see that as a really good service for the people who are unable at this time to either get their computer fixed or to buy a new computer, or whatever, explained Morelock. Times are bad. The economy is bad. So, Im finding more people using the technology that we have. Morelock also pointed out by more people heading to the library to use their computers and Internet, they are also borrowing more books instead of going out to buy their own. Thats a win-win for us, laughed Morelock. For more information about the Mooers Free Library, contact Morelock at 236-7744.

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