Demonstrating a Local Library's Global Impact
Global users, local impact
Wayne County, Pennsylvania is a rural county along the northern Delaware River, but during the summer months the local library looks and sounds more like a branch of the United Nations with dozens of languages being spoken and alphabets other than English on the computer screens. The county has a lot of summer camps, and young people come from all over the world to work as camp counselors. With rivers, lakes, and state forests the area also attracts a lot of summer visitors. Hundreds of people use the library’s public access computers to stay in touch with family and friends, to contact travel agencies and airlines, to search for information about the local area and about other places they plan to visit. This year we displayed a world map in our public access computer room and asked everyone who used a computer to put a dot on the map to show their home country and to write down the name of their hometown on a legal pad. After the summer was over we used the map and the list of place names in presentations to local service clubs and to local officials. The map was an effective way to show how people from all over the world depend on the computers at public libraries, and we shared some of the stories of how our staff and our services made visitors feel welcome. The presentations were especially effective with service groups that have international missions such as Rotary Clubs. Most people had no idea the influx of computer users we have during the summer. The local Rotarians decided to apply for a matching grant to purchase a laptop computer for us with a wireless Internet connection to expand the number of computer stations we can offer and we may have other sources of funding to increase our wireless capacity.
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