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Technology upgrades set for libraries in Sharpsburg, Fox Chapel

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Computers are being updated at the Sharpsburg Library soon.

After two brief closures this winter, Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel will close one final day this month to wrap up ongoing computer upgrades.

Executive Director Stephanie Flom said 51 new computers will be installed on April 29 at the library on Fox Chapel Road.

The branch site in Sharpsburg will close at noon that day so its six computers can be installed.

“They will be faster. They'll handle browser issues in a better way,” said Reference Librarian Ann Andrews.

The computers are replaced every three years as part of an agreement with the eiNetwork, a cooperative effort between 44 Allegheny County libraries and 33 Carnegie libraries. It costs $13,495 a year to lease the equipment.

The work follows two network projects completed in February and March. The libraries were closed first for hardware upgrades and then for software installation.

“The work gives regional libraries more options for customization and staff efficiencies,” Flom said.

Work was paid for with money from the Allegheny County Regional Asset District and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Cooper-Siegel typically has about 207,000 visitors at the main branch each year. About 260,000 items are circulated.

Andrews said patrons likely will be excited by the addition of two laptop computers, something the library hasn't offered before.

“These will be great for people who might want to sit away in a corner and use the computer,” she said, but the laptops can't be checked out.

There will be a two-hour time limit on each laptop per day, unlike the desktop units where patrons have unlimited use.

“The computers are a big attraction at the library,” Andrews said. “We have a lot of people who just check their email and we have groups who use it for team projects.”

A parents' group, for example, meets at the library computer lab to work on school projects. A teen group works on a school newsletter.

Classes are offered regularly on topics that include email, Internet and Skype.

For more information, call the main branch at 412-828-9520 or the Sharpsburg branch at 412-781-0783.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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