Following a successful pilot program in Ouachita, Jefferson Davis and West Baton Rouge parishes, the State Library, in partnership with public libraries, is implementing a statewide laptop check-out program. The program is funded through an $8.8 million competitive grant awarded to the State Library of Louisiana in February 2010 from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program of the Department of Commerce. The State Library is supplying 640 laptop computers to public libraries throughout the state, with each parish receiving 10 laptops. The process will be carried out on a regional basis to reduce travel costs and facilitate speedy deployment. Laptops will be available in every parish for patrons to borrow by the end of the year.
“This new laptop program is designed to give more citizens access to technology that can better their future and Louisiana’s future,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said. “Many Louisianans do not have home computers and only 43 percent of Louisianans have access to the Internet at home.”
The laptops are Internet-ready so that citizens can take them to any hot spot to access the Internet. The laptops also have GPS software that allows the State Library to recover them in the event of loss or theft.
The three-year grant that supports the laptop program, Louisiana Libraries: Connecting People to Their Potential, is also enabling the State Library to provide workforce development tools and training, online tutoring and health and wellness education available to citizens. Programs made available through the grant include high-end electronic resources that offer skills practice and live one-on-one tutoring to students and those preparing for various entrance exams. In addition, the State Library created the Louisiana Jobs & Career Center website, www.lajacc.org, compiling the best job search and career tools for Louisianans.
“We have an outstanding opportunity with this grant to make a fundamental difference in the lives of our citizens,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “To date, we have used only 39 percent of the total grant and have much left to do. We will continue to partner with Louisiana’s 339 public libraries to offer more training statewide.”
More than 7,000 citizens have learned computer application and business skills from attending the 1,200 free classes that the State Library has presented thus far in partnership with local public libraries.
To find out more, call 888.487.2700 or visit www.lajacc.org or www.state.lib.la.us.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2011
State Library of Louisiana
Office of the Lieutenant Governor