HED: Small libraries go on line as libraries nationwide tout ‘Net today
By Marty Russell
When the American Library Association sent out a news release recently announcing “Log on @ the Library Day” as part of National Library Week this week, it began by stating that “libraries … ranging from the Library of Congress to Bruce, Mississippi,” would take part.
“We thought that was nice that they picked us to represent a small town library,” said Ann Ivy King, librarian at Jesse Yancy Memorial Library in Bruce.
The library will take part in the national event today that will showcase the resources of the Internet to the public. In Bruce, King will use the American Library Association’s site to take viewers on tours of the White House and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame among other sites available on the Internet.
The Bruce library, which is part of the Dixie Regional Library system headquartered in Pontotoc, is one of many small, rural libraries that are finding the Internet is a cheap and vast resource for researching topics and locating information.
In Ashland, a town of about 500, the local library recently became a participant in a partnership between the Mississippi Library Commission and Microsoft Corp. to install Internet access to rural communities.
Library Commission spokeswoman Gloria Washington said 18 counties with the lowest per capita incomes in the state are participating in the program in which computer and software giant Microsoft is providing free hardware and training for library staff members.
Ashland librarian Sue Poff could not be reached for comment Monday but a library spokeswoman said the system there was not yet hooked up.
In Bruce, King said her facility has had computers available for public use for some time but only recently decided to get connected to the Internet.
“The phone company starting offering local access so the (library) board approved adding a modem and hooking up to the Internet,” she said.
Since the system has just been installed, King said some policies for its use will have to be established.
“It probably won’t be open access,” she said. “We’ll use it as a backup resource when we run out of standard resources and the staff also will use it for professional development, to talk to other librarians.”
King said the local school system is scheduled to go on line this fall and part of today’s program to educate the public on the resources available on the Internet is to make parents aware of those resources.
“The parents don’t want to feel left out,” she said.
The Bruce library is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. today.