Technology opportunities, challenges hit library

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Virus issues take many public service computers out of use

The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library has received a grant for equipment that will bring a new resource to the four largest branches in the system: Monett, Cassville, Aurora and Mt. Vernon.

In an effort to promote teen literacy, the library received a grant for $2,000 from Dollar General to buy equipment that will enable the creation of animated movies. The process involves the use of an iPad Air tablet, a Read ANIMATOR tablet, and the computer apps 1StopMotion and Apple iMovie.

According to Gina Milburn, director of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library system, the process creates computer-animated figures that resemble the "Gumby" claymation cartoons. The literacy equation comes from teens reading the instructions for using the hardware and the computer apps.

The grant became possible through the efforts of Meghan Shaner, who took a grant writing class with Drury University in Monett. The library already has the iPad Air tablets. The Read ANIMATOR tablets will take some time for the manufacturer to build. Milburn could not project when the new resources would be available.

A significant technology challenge surfaced after the library system installed all 26 new computers acquired for staff and public use. Milburn said staff members have struggled to keep the computers in use after multiple virus issues surfaced unlike what the library had seen before.

"We haven't figured out why we're having virus problems," Milburn said. "We think they're coming in with downloads or in emails. We've blocked downloads on some games, like Mindcraft. We need to offer public access to the machines.. We've been unlocking downloads to do the printing. We'd like to trace the viruses to stop them."

As a counter-strategy, Milburn hopes to apply the Smart Shield or Deep Freeze programs that will return a computer to its original settings at the end of every day. The process requires taking each machine to Software Specialists in Monett for installation. Milburn hopes to test the strategy at the Monett branch into mid-October. If successful, each of the computers will come back through the main branch office for additional software.

"We thank our customers and staff for being patient while we try to resolve this issue," Milburn added.

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