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Opinion

Oppenheim: La Grange Park library to update technology with help of grant

Gabe Oppenheim is Information Technology manager and a reference librarian at the La Grange Park Public Library.
Gabe Oppenheim is Information Technology manager and a reference librarian at the La Grange Park Public Library.

The La Grange Park Public Library received a $50,000 legislative grant thanks to State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Oak Park). The library is using this grant to update technology, create a more comfortable, inviting space in the library and make access to professional services painless.

On the technology front, the library will replace its aging desktop computers with over 20 new laptops. These computers will run the latest versions of Microsoft Windows and have the newest Microsoft Office suites installed. Most will even include touchscreens. Overall public computer capacity for adults will be more than doubled, and it will be easier than ever for library patrons to use the Internet, create resumes, or just play a few games.

With the space gained from removing the desktop computers and their bulky furniture, the library will create a new area filled with a number of different kinds of comfortable seating. This area will include lounge seats with cup-holders and tablet arms for computers, benches that will allow patrons to relax in a number of positions and even tables with built-in power for computers and mobile devices. Patrons interested in collaborating (or just sharing some coffee) will also find tables perfect for two.

The library is perhaps most excited about offering easier access to professional reference and readers' advisory services. Reference librarians currently offer services on the library's second floor, and many patrons are unaware that such services are even available. The reconfiguration of the library's first floor will allow reference staff to be available to patrons as soon as they walk into the building. Their proximity to the library's adult fiction collection, as well as the library's collection of readers' advisory resources, like Novelist Plus (go to lplibrary.org/online-resources with your La Grange Park Library card to try this one out for yourself), means that it will be easier than ever to get a recommendation for that next great read.

Library staff are working hard to prepare for these great new features and services. The library anticipates that these projects will be completed by the middle of fall. Sign up for the library's new e-newsletter at www.lplibrary.org for updates on this and news on all library programs and events.

Gabe Oppenheim is Information Technology manager and a reference librarian at the La Grange Park Public Library

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