Grove City Library patrons probably noticed something different about the building's public computers this week -- and with good reason.
They're new -- they're all new.
On March 25, after Grove City Library closed for the evening, the Southwest Public Libraries' information technology department replaced the old and out-of-date public computers with faster and better machines.
The Westland Area Library will not be left out. The technology staff plans to install new computers at Westland within the next week or two. Currently, they are monitoring the Grove City Library's machines and addressing any unforeseen issues that might have come up during the transfer.
Staffers plan to start work at Westland once all the Grove City computers are up and running smoothly.
The staff is grateful to patrons for their understanding and patience throughout the process that will ultimately improve the quality of service the library offers.
Between both buildings, SPL will install 70 new public machines for patrons to use, with five print-release and reservation stations. The overall number of public computers will increase by one. Westland will receive a new print station because patrons print more there than at Grove City Library, and sometimes, there are lines at the print stations.
The difference between the new and old machines will be night and day.
Using an Envisionware server, built by the information technology staff using the latest software versions from Envisionware, the new computers run faster, contain more memory, have Windows 10 installed and use 24-inch monitors that are larger than those of the older machines. The previous computers used Windows 7.
Between one user signing off and the computer being ready to use for the next patron, an old computer could take four or five minutes. The new computers have sliced that time to about one minute. It is lightning fast by comparison.
The new computers also use Microsoft Office 2016. The older machines used Office 2013. Additionally, the interface has been streamlined, making it easier for patrons to use.
The new computers represent a significant investment on the part of SPL, but they are a direct response to our patrons' needs.
Every day, patrons arrive at the library to use the computers and access the internet, file important paperwork, study, print research material, type papers, stay connected to social media, pay their taxes, play games, access the library's online resources, do homework and more.
The new computers are built and programmed to better serve the people who will use them. Providing computers to the public is an important role today's libraries offer the community.
Mark Dubovec is communications manager for Southwest Public Libraries. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.