VOL. 111 | NO. 29 | Wednesday, February 12, 1997
lj 10/5 cates
Public library books a spot on the Internet
Feb. 12, 1997 -- In todayís Internet-savvy society, finding
practically everything you could ever want about almost anything
is as easy as two clicks of a mouseís tail ó anyone
with a computer and a modem can do it.
The Memphis/Shelby County Public Library and Information Center
is doing its part to lead the way into the Information Age, with
recent branch renovations and new construction geared toward giving
library patrons increased access to the Internet.
Last month, renovation work was completed on the Poplar-White
Station branch library at 5094 Poplar Ave., and construction is
about wind up on a new Germantown branch library at 1925 Exeter
Road, said library system spokesperson Daphne Thomas.
The Poplar-White Station branch, which opened Saturday, is the
second in the Memphis library system to give library customers
the opportunity to venture onto the Internet free of charge, and
the Germantown branch, scheduled to open March 3, will be the
ìWith the facilities we have right now, we cannot provide
the high level of electronic access that public libraries have
been asked to offer,î said library director Judith Drescher.
ìAs we continue to renovate, we will redo every electrical,
phone and telecommunications system so that eventually, every
location will be able to provide World Wide Web and Internet access.î
This online access was made possible in part by a grant provided
by Microsoftís Libraries Online! program, a $10.5 million
philanthropic initiative to help library systems in economically
disadvantaged communities nationwide.
The Memphis library system received $112,500 in grant funds, which
will allow nine branch libraries, plus the main library, to go
online, Thomas said. The funds also will fund the purchase of
computer hardware and software, as well as training.
The new Germantown branch, with 31,000 square feet of space, also
will be more than three times the size of the facilityís
current quarters at 1920 S. Germantown Road.
In addition to increased meeting space and collection room, the
new library will be equipped exclusively with personal computers
rather than the customary public access computer terminals.
ìThe library system is heading in the direction of using
a more universal and user-friendly concept concerning the display
of database information by using personal computers,î said
Steve Foster, automated services manager for the library system.
More than 20 PCs will be available to library customers. With
the debut of the libraryís home page on the World Wide
Web, users will have access to information about library services,
events and activities, as well as the libraryís Public
Information Gateway, or computer catalog.
The current Germantown branchís last day of services is
Saturday so that staff can be trained and materials moved.
The county supplied 25 percent of the funds for the $4.6 million
project, and the balance was raised by the Germantown Library
Commission from private sources.
Renovations to the 30-year-old Poplar-White Station branch, valued
at $475,000, consisted of completely reworking the electrical,
heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems, Drescher said.
Drescher said the library system is almost ready to begin renovations
on the South Third Street branch in Southgate Town Center. The
collection housed at the smaller South branch library at Third
and Norwood will be moved to the South Third Street branch after
renovations are complete.
An architect also has been hired to design a new branch for Southeast
Shelby County. The site hasnít been selected yet, but it
will be on Shelby Drive. The County Commission has approved the
acquisition of property and the hiring of Hnedak Bobo Group as
Drescher also said the library system will be undertaking cosmetic
renovations on several smaller branches throughout the city.
ìOne of the things we always find is that as soon as we
freshen up the branches, even if its just new carpeting, furniture
coverings or paint, it just reinspires people to come back,î
ìJust like with any business, if you look old and stale,
they think your collection is old and stale.
ìBut we try very hard, every 10 or 15 years, when we get
the money, to change the colors and make them a little more open
and modern. As soon as we do that, we get lots of new customers
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News