The library used to be all about the books. But thanks to technology, more and more people are entering the doors for a different reason. Our Lara Greenberg has more on how the Southeast Steuben County Library is expanding its services.
CORNING, N.Y. -- Donald Kreamer comes to the Southeast Steuben County Library in Corning almost every day. And it's not for books.
"I just come to use the computers."
And he's not the only one. With computer-use on the rise, the Corning library is now expanding its broadband services throughout the county. With a more than $244,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the library has hired 2 full-time employees for the new Be:Lab program.
"We've been hired to design a series of programs that will help people learn how to use computers, how to use broadband that's available here for free at the library," said Be:Lab project manager Marshall Hyde.
The grant will also help purchase 14 additional laptops and develop remote access centers to towns that don't have broadband available to them. Towns like Caton, Hornby, and Campbell will most likely set up broadband in their town halls.
"We will be able to go out there on a regular, scheduled basis and run classes, make equipment available," said Hyde.
Organizers of the Be:Lab program are hoping that as people learn to use the computer and the Internet, they'll also have an easier time finding jobs.
"Most jobs you have to apply for online. So you need access to computers. You need to know how to get online and fill out forms online," said Hyde.
But Donald says the beauty of the Internet is the ability to discover.
"Until you actually get to use the computer, you don't realize how much knowledge is available to you. And it's just too easy," said Donald Kreamer, of Painted Post.
But is it easy enough for people who've never had broadband to learn how to use it? Only time will tell.
The Corning library was one of 35 libraries in upstate New York to receive the grant. More than $9 million was distributed throughout the libraries.