Sandy Public Library, friends work to raise funds for tech upgrades
As most people do with their personal expenses, the Sandy Public Library keeps a close eye on its budget, designating funds from the Friends of the Library for programming, putting a set allotment toward new books and DVDs, and so on.
Unfortunately, even best laid plans are sometimes derailed. So, while the library director Sarah McIntyre hadn't planned to replace their 26 public-use computers until the next biennium, the latest discontinuation of Windows 7 forced the need to update now.
The computers and printer-copier currently in the library have been in use since the new facility opened in 2012.
Because money the library has is already budgeted for specific areas like programming and buying new books, McIntyre and staff have to go out and fundraise.
"Using existing funds would mean not buying $32,000 of library materials, books and DVDs," she said.
"We thought they could go another few years," McIntyre explained. "We were able to upgrade them to Windows 10, but they're still extremely slow. We added new hard drives to them to make them run better until we replace them."
As a public service, the computers at the library offer a range of uses to Sandy residents of all ages.
"People come in to make resumes, print plane tickets — things in their daily lives they need to accomplish they come to the library to do," McIntyre said. "We have about 1,700 computer users each month. We've found some citizens of Sandy don't have a computer in their home or need staff help. It's very important we provide that service in the community."
"It gives the kids something to do after school," said Jack Frick of the Friends of the Sandy Library.
In an effort to help the library staff raise the needed $32,000 to replace their computers, the Friends of the Sandy Library are visiting local businesses to solicit donations and asking any and all who might have funds to spare to help out. One anonymous donor has already generously agreed to match up to $16,000 if the money is raised by the end of April. So far the group has raised about $9,755, with $6,245 left to raise before the end of April.
"The Friends are a fantastic organization to work with and supply $12,500 a year for our programming," McIntyre said. "We certainly couldn't do the level of programming we do without them."
"We're trying to give (Sarah and her staff) a kickstart," said Frick. "The response has been overwhelming, and in fact, in this contentious age we live in, it is nice to see there is a live and vibrant community here in Sandy that is willing to step forward and come together to support this effort."
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