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Technology Updates

Sonoma County Library

Digital Equity and Citizenship | 2021

Innovation Summary

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we updated technology at all branches to promote digital equity in the community. We installed external Wi-Fi at library facilities, migrated our public computing management system to a modern platform that better fits the public's needs and upgraded public PCs.

Problem Statement

We strive to increase digital equity and citizenship. The external Wi-Fi project came from the need to provide online services seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to individuals who could not enter the building. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the expansion project became a vital avenue to reaching library users who might not have Internet access from another source. The SSD replacement project came about because the previous hard drives were slower and did not support user-friendly remote printing services.


Innovation

The library branches’ external WiFi blankets areas near the branches and parking lots with a robust broadband signal. In some cases, community groups contributed to the external WiFi cost, strengthening our relationships with community partners. The new public computing management system includes ePrint service, which facilitates easy to use printing for those who may not have access to a printer at home. Users can submit jobs from any location and pick up prints at their library.


Progress

Even today, there are people who may not be comfortable entering our facilities or have unique schedules and need WiFi access outside business hours. Currently there is external Wi-Fi at 12 out of 14 branches. The SSD replacement project boosted the performance of nearly 250 public computers by at least 30 percent by replacing slower spindle hard drives with SSD units. As of October 20, 2021, there were 25,953 total sessions on SCL’s public PCs since reopening in April 2021 with new software and hardware.