public computing

1. The past number of times we’ve purchased new computers for the library, we noticed that Dell wasn’t giving deals on Microsoft Office like they once did. Instead, they were bundling Corel’s WordPerfect and associated programs. Around the same time we started to get more and more inquiries about whether or not we had WordPerfect on our computers. Due to the requests, we now have the Corel suite on our public machines. If you’re in change of the computers in your library, keep your ears open to people taking about WordPerfect.

2. I’ve started a small “Get the Library’s Computers Totally in Order” campaign that involves spending 1.5 hours at the library before it opens once a week. We don’t have a server :( so the time is quickly eaten up going from computer to computer. Recently I made sure all of the computers had the most recent versions of both IE and Netscape (with all of the appropriate plug-ins), and also downloaded Firefox 1.0. Having three choices on the desktop that say “internet” has thrown a few patrons for a loop, but it has been a wonderful excuse for some educational sessions on browsers. Tabbed browsing, built-in search boxes, the google toolbar and the dangers of IE are quite new topics to many of our patrons.

3. We often have patrons bringing in USB storage devices but yesterday was the first time I saw an iPod shuffle plugged into one of our machines.

One thought on “public computing”

  1. If you have to meet patron demand for MS software, get the best deal possible on MS titles for your PACs, head to TechSoup.org.

    You have to register and there are limits on what you can get, both in the range of MS titles and the number (6 different titles with up to 50 licenses each), but it is generally dirt cheap – the software is donated by MS and the fee is for the “adminsitration” stuff on TechSOup’s side.

    And, if your library is a 501©3, then you can get all sorts of software from other vendors AND hardware (including Cisco Wi-Fi gear for pretty darn cheap).

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