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Library receives $5,148 grant

By By Adam Prestridge
Keeping up with today's fast-paced technology is hard for any business.
The Atmore Public Library is no exception.
That's why Atmore Public Library director Cathy McKinley was pleased to receive the paperwork last week guaranteeing the library as the recipient of a Small Library Development Grant administered by the Alabama Public Library Service. Now that the paperwork has arrived, McKinley can proceed in purchasing the two computers, desks, chairs and laser printer the grant is intended for.
"It helps tremendously," McKinley said. "Not only does it give the adult patrons access to information online, but the students that don't have a computer at home will have access to the Alabama Virtual Library, homeworkalabama.com and learningexpresslibrary.com. Plus, we have tutorial software to help students prepare for the Alabama Graduation Exam and office software to help them with their term papers and spreadsheets."
The 75-25 grant totals $5,148 and according to McKinley, the Friends of the Library Board will pay the $1,287 for the 25 percent match the library is responsible for. Once the new equipment is purchased, the library's adult media center will have 11 computers for public access. McKinley said a portion of the library's membership fees help pay the library's percentage for federal grants.
"Technology is a large part of the library now, it's not completely about books," McKinley said. "Teachers are allowing students to use the computers for their research."
According to McKinley, before Hurricane Ivan struck Atmore, the library was struggling to keep up with the demand for computer use. Ivan destroyed five of the library's computers, three down stairs and two in the children's department. Fortunately, the City of Atmore stepped up to the plate and replaced all five computers and the 1,000 books lost during the storm.
"The city does support us and we're very thankful, but as far as equipment, it is all purchased through grants," McKinley said.
Even though the computers were replaced, the demand for computer use at the library was even greater when it reopened in July 2005.
Even though the library continues to receive grants, McKinley said it's hard to keep computers up-to-date because programs are quickly enhanced.
"Our four-year-old server is considered old," she said. "We're learning that more than ever right now because it keeps going down."
McKinley said the next grant the library applies for will be a lofty one in hopes of receiving more updated equipment.
"Our entire circulation and cataloging system was purchased with a grant about four years ago, and that's what we're going to be doing this year," McKinley said. "We're going to be applying for a grant to completely replace that system."
Until then, McKinley said the support of the Atmore community is instrumental in the library's growth.
"The Library Board, Friends of the Library Board and employees of the Atmore Public Library would like to thank everyone for their support," McKinley said. " Together we can continue to have a library we are extremely proud of."