By MARK EVANS
Shawn Long, executive director of Ste. Genevieve County Library, reported on a Missouri Department of Economic Development grant he has received during last Thursday’s County Commission meeting..
The grant, for $23,000 will allow Long to purchase equipment to set up eight Internet “hot spots” around the county for residents who have limited or no internet access.
Additionally, 12 units will be available for two-week check-out from the library and may be used at home for internet access.
Long gave the commissioners a map with locations of the eight spots marked. They will be at the GrayHawk Lodge, St. Mary City Hall, Bloomsdale library annex, the library main location, Ste. Genevieve Lion’s Park, Weingarten Fire Department and Zell Volunteer ire Department.
Presiing Commissioner Garry Nelson said he was glad to see county children getting better internet access.
“We weren’t prepared this spring, when the schools closed down,” Nelson said. “We want to be prepared this year.”
Long said that within two days, 11 of the 12 mobile units had been checked out. Nine are stationed at the main library and three at the Bloomsdale annex.
“The demand for internet is high,” Long said. He said he also gave Nancy Toombs, R-II Schools technology coordinator, an update on the situation.
In addition to helping students with virtual learning, more and more adults are turning to telehealth, or virtual doctor visits.
The grant covers one year of internet access, as well as the devices.
Nelson asked him about blocking porn sites. Long said blockers are in place. He also added that the hookups are not really fast enough to use streaming services like Netflix.
Various sites may be unblocked if needed. Long called it “a slow process to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
“You’ve done remarkable work at the library,” Nelson told Long.