New Ipswich Library receives $9,000 technology grant

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-26-2023 2:37 PM

The New Ipswich Library has received a $9,125 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to purchase new technology, including new computer terminals and e-readers, and to extend its existing Wi-Fi reach.

Library Trustee and Treasurer Gretchen Rae said the funds are in hand, and the library hopes to have all the new equipment purchased, installed and ready for use before the end of the summer.Trustees are currently developing a technology policy, and will be consulting with the IT director at the Mascenic Regional School District before making the purchases, but Rae said at least some of the work is intended to be finished before the start of the library’s summer reading program.

Purchases include extenders for the library Wi-Fi so it is accessible from the lawn and parking lot, about a dozen e-reader tablets, three desktop computers – one for the librarian and two for public terminals – a color laser printer and scanner and a microphone and camera for streaming events.

“The vision we’re forming as trustees is that we recognize that we are a community resource, and it’s our obligation to give more options to our community, so they understand what an asset we are,” Rae said. “We’ll do what we can to provide the most-updated technology, so that our townspeople aren’t isolated from the options that people in larger cities have.”

Rae said the library already provides free Wi-Fi for residents, but the reach only extends within the building. The extender will allow those outside the library, in the parking lot or lawn, to access it even when the library is closed.

The library also already provides options for downloading e-books, but will now also provide e-readers for loan.

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The single desktop will be replaced with two public terminals, as well as a new computer for the librarian. The public desktops will be equipped with Microsoft Office products.

“We have one [public] computer station, but it is sorely outdated, and runs very, very slowly,” Rae said of the library’s current computer offerings.

The printer and scanner will be available for public use, but are also intended to be used to start the process of digitizing and archiving records stored by the New Ipswich Historical Society.

The library will also be installing equipment to offer streaming opportunities for talks or events.

“Our library is so small, we don’t have a large training space. People will be able to watch a training from home and not have to worry about our parking capacity or the space in the training room,” Rae said.

The grant, issued by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, provides up to $10,000 for technology upgrades, distance-learning opportunities or staff development to libraries. As part of the grant, the New Ipswich Library contributed work to upgrade its website. The new website is newipswichlibrary.org.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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