If you’ve been in a library sometime in the last 20 or more years, you know they’re not just about the books anymore.
However, if you’re not in need of this service, you may not know a lot of people in our community rely upon the technological services the library offers for internet access.
Many people use the computers at local libraries for all kinds of needs, including looking for and applying for jobs, printing resumes, communicating with potential employers and doing other tasks necessary to acquire employment. They may also be using the computers at the library for such vital tasks as communicating with family and friends, seeking health care, registering to vote, obtaining government identification, completing schoolwork and more.
In other words, the computers at the library are not just for fun and games. They are a lifeline for people who do not have any other access to computers or the internet.
The past 10 months have been a hardship on these people, as Suffolk’s public libraries have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. While closing the libraries was a necessary move to prevent community spread, it also cut off this means of access to people who need it.
Thankfully, libraries and recreational centers will be opening for technology access this Monday, as reported by Rachel Wartian in this edition.
“Access to technology is a great need in our community, especially during COVID-19, and we are pleased to be able to provide access to a variety of options including internet accessible computers in our libraries and recreation centers,” Library Director Clint Rudy stated.
The city’s two main library branches, as well as the recreation centers at East Suffolk and Whaleyville, will have hours starting Monday when technology access will be available. There are protocols that must be followed, of course — users must wear a face covering, take a health assessment and abide by a one-hour time limit. They also must have what’s needed ordinarily for access: for example, a free library card for the library or a recreation center membership for the rec centers.
However, we’re glad to see this move taking place to allow people to get access to this needed service once again. Appreciation is due to Rudy, Parks & Rec Director Mark Furlo and other city staff who have worked on this project.