WADSWORTH — Beginning Monday, almost 100 electronic gadgets will be available for two-week check-out at the Wadsworth Ella M. Everhard Public Library.
Library Director Allen Nichols said the library wanted to make the devices available to the community, and there would be an emphasis on helping unemployed people be more technologically prepared for the workplace.
“It’s one way we wanted to bridge the digital divide from people who don’t have a lot of money and don’t have access to technology,” Nichols said.
The library purchased the electronics with a $18,800 federal Institute of Museum and Library Services grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio. The Wadsworth library also put up $6,200 of its own money from its general fund.
During the last few months, 14 different devices were purchased, including e-readers, digital cameras, GPS units, iPads and projectors, Nichols said. The technology will be added to several laptops the library already offers for in-house and take-home use.
“We thought, we have these laptops, can we purchase other pieces of technology that people might be able to use to get a job?” Nichols said.
Part of the grant application required the library to provide technology training opportunities, Nichols said. The library partnered with the Salvation Army and trained more than 75 people on technology for job-searching purposes.
The library also hosted more than 200 people at its facility to teach them how to use different digital gadgets, he said.
Nichols said the laptop check-out program has had “great success,” with few damaged computers, so he wasn’t too worried about the new devices.
To check out a device, a person must be 18 years old and sign an agreement that says he or she will pay for any damaged or lost equipment.
Nichols added he thought the e-readers and iPads would be the most popular devices.
“We think there is going to be a great demand for this,” he said.
Devices will be available to anyone with a Wadsworth library card, and any Ohio resident can get a card.
The library would like to continue to add to its technology services and is seeking approval of a 1.25-mill operating levy on the March 6 ballot so it can lengthen library hours and improve programming, Nichols said.
“We have long had a dream of having a technology center in the building,” he said. “So we want to be able to do that.”
If approved, the levy would cost $39.38 per $100,000 of appraised property per year, Nichols said.
The last issue voters approved was a 1.75-mill replacement levy in 2002.
Contact Michelle Sprehe at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.