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County Commissioner Dean Kinzer presenting check to Library Director Kylie Fullmer

Whitman County Library Receives Grant to Improve Technology

Whitman County Library was recently awarded $94,112.21 through Whitman County’s COVID-19 Nonprofit Relief Program to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and expand access to technology resources at library locations throughout the county.

“While the library was closed earlier this year, we took heartbreaking calls from people in despair who couldn’t access important online services such as Social Security, unemployment services, online classes, and Washington’s Health Care Authority,” said Shirley Cornelius, WCL Business Manager.

All WCL branches are now open, but social distancing requirements limit the library’s ability to meet the demand for computer and internet access.  With grant funds, the library is planning to purchase laptops for every branch location that will be available for check out with a library card.  The library will also start checking out webcams and hotspots to support remote meetings and online learning, and soon each branch will have a new multi-function printer with photocopying capabilities as well as other features.

The biggest improvement will be upgraded Wi-Fi equipment at every branch location to allow for better internet access both within the library and from parking around the library.  “We know there’s a need for faster, more reliable internet throughout our service area and what’s available now is insufficient to meet the current demand.  This funding will allow us to install a state of the art Wi-Fi network to offer our patrons exceptional service” said James Morasch, WCL Systems Administrator.

The library will implement these improvements in phases and plans to have everything installed over the next few months.

The project is supported by a grant awarded by the US Department of the Treasury with grant funds administered by the Whitman County Coronavirus Relief Fund through the Washington State Department of Commerce.  For more information, contact Library Director Kylie Fullmer at 509-397-4366 or kylie@whitco.lib.wa.us.

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