$35,000 grant helps modernize Beardsley and Memorial Library
By JULIE WEISBERG – Staff Reporter
August, 21, 2009
WINSTED — The Beardsley and Memorial Library has received a $35,000 grant that will allow its staff to purchase state-of-the-art library automation software.
The grant was issued by the Danbury-based Praxair Foundation as part of its “Library Links” program.
According to library director Linda Senkus, the new software will enable library patrons to create online accounts, renew materials from home, subscribe to user-defined updates of new library purchases and use social networking features such as list sharing and reader reviews.
“It is going to have a huge impact on the user,” she said.
Senkus said the library’s current software system, which was released in 1991, has been outdated for some time.
“Software and the Web have changed dramatically since then,” she said. “This new program is a much more modern, Web-enabled technology.”
The new software will also feature a more “user-friendly search screen,” Senkus said, as well as a more robust and powerful search engine database.
In addition, articles and content featured within magazines and books will now be searchable within the library’s catalog. Currently, patrons can only pull up the listing for a periodical or book, and not a full list of the content within them.
“People will be able to find a lot more items while also being able to find what we already own,” Senkus said.
Senkus said once in place, the software will also enable library staff to keep up with the increase in library users.
“It will allow out staff to become more efficient and improve our customer service,” she said.
Senkus said the grant is a major step in obtaining the total amount of funding needed to purchase the software, which will cost some $50,000.
That amount includes the purchase of the software itself, as well as memory upgrades required to run the program on the library’s computers and staff training.
To bridge the $15,000 funding gap, Senkus said she has two other grant applications now awaiting a decision, and the library’s fundraising committee has ramped up its activity and is now meeting weekly.
“I’m confident we’ll be able to raise it,” she said. “And we are looking to have the money by the end of the year.”
If the library is able to meet its fundraising target date, the software should be up, online and available for patrons to use in April.
Senkus said with the tough economic climate, and the limited funding available from the town, the library would not be able to move forward on important projects like this without the investment of public/private grants and donations from local businesses and individuals.
“I am just very thankful to Praxair and other donors,” Senkus said. “We absolutely rely on donations, and we are very grateful for every one we get.”
For more information or to contribute toward the software purchase, contact Senkus at 860-379-6043 or email@example.com.
© Copyright 2009 by TCExtra.com
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