Difficulty seeing computer screens and frustration with the stability and performance of the computers at the local library will not be a problem for users much longer.Thanks to a $25,000 donation from the Friends of West Milford Library, in January state-of-the-art computers will replace all of those now available for use.
With the Friends’ donation paying the bill, there is no cost to taxpayers. Features on the new computers include 23-inch screens on the monitors.
“Almost all of the library’s current computers are years beyond their end-of-life dates, with a noticeable decline in stability and performance,” Richard Pino, the library’s director, explained. “With operating systems that are generations old, many of the library’s computers consist of different models purchased at different times, precluding any meaningful updates and adding to the frustration of users.”
In all, the Friends are purchasing 28 new computers and monitors for public and staff use. The purchase will be made through PALS PLUS, the consortium of libraries in the Passaic County area, at a savings of $25,708.
The new computers will have 512-gigabyte and solid state hard drives, which offer faster booting times and drive access speeds up to 100 times faster than the library’s current hardware. They are less noisy and more reliable.
All machines will be on the Windows 10 operating system. It will be easier for patrons to access USB ports and headphone jacks. In addition, three new computers for searching the library’s catalog will offer touch screens for easy use by library patrons.
Douglas Ott, Friends of the West Milford Library treasurer and a longtime member, said the Friends authorized the $25,000 donation at an executive board meeting in September.
“There is a definite need to replace the library’s current computers,” Ott said. “The Friends are happy to underwrite the expense. It’s what we do.”
The hardware upgrade caps off a dramatic increase in use of the library’s technology offerings.
“During the final six months of 2017, after we moved into the new building, we had approximately 1,986 wireless sessions on our public Wi-Fi,” Pino explained. “For calendar year 2018 that number mushroomed to 198,423 wireless sessions. Numbers for 2019 are still being compiled.”
To accommodate the increased usage of the library’s network from its own new hardware and from patrons bringing their own devices into the facility, the library has more than doubled its network bandwidth.
Pino said that the new library was constructed with increased public usage of its technology offerings in mind.
“With all these new technology upgrades, the library is fulfilling its mission to be the cultural, educational, information and technology hub of the community,” said Jim Rogers, the Library Board’s vice president.
The Friends of the West Milford Township Library is an independent 501(c) 3 organization whose mission is to support the library through fundraising activities. Recent donations from the Friends have funded furniture for the new library, the annual summer concert series, two early literacy stations in the children’s room, electronic bulletin boards and a powered speaker’s podium.