Laptop donations increase access at library

Tom Nowak, left, tries out a Chromebook, with Sno-Isle Library staff members Brian Haight and Deborah Tahara, at the Marysville Library. - Courtesy Photo
Tom Nowak, left, tries out a Chromebook, with Sno-Isle Library staff members Brian Haight and Deborah Tahara, at the Marysville Library.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

MARYSVILLE — Tom Nowak, a retired physician from Marysville, donated 17 new Chromebook laptops to the Marysville Library for customers to use in the library.

Nowak has been a dedicated donor to the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation for several years.

“The library reaches out to everybody in our community and is one of the places where the money is used wisely,” said Nowak. “It’s a feel-good donation.”

Seeing the heavy use of the public desktop PCs at the Marysville Library inspired him to try to expand the availability of the Internet. He doesn’t want anyone to have to wait to get online, he said.

The limited space in the library makes adding more desktop PC consoles a challenge, but Nowak took to the idea that small laptops or notebooks can be used in any comfy chair or corner of the library.

Executive Director of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Angelique Leone said, “We’re excited to partner with a donor who has the ability to tap into the needs of the community. Tom’s donation will allow us to test this pilot project before rolling it out to other libraries.”

Sno-Isle Libraries Information Technology Manager John Mulhall explained the choice of the Google Chromebook for the donation.

“From an IT perspective, these devices allow us to provide quick and easy Internet access without the added overhead of locally-installed software,” he said. “We’re seeing a trend of Internet/Cloud-based devices. Chromebooks slim down the traditional laptop and take it to another level, allowing users to reach applications and services they need in the Cloud.”

Library customers who are ready to jump onto the Chromebooks or willing to simply try them out on their own for the first time are encouraged to do so. For the more tech-shy library customer, Marysville Library staff members are standing by and eager to coach and guide them on how to successfully use a Chromebook. Shifting some library customers from the library’s public desktop PCs will free those computers for other customers who prefer a computer to a laptop.

“The Chromebooks give library customers the option to choose where in the library they want to sit,” said Jill Wubbenhorst, assistant managing librarian of the Marysville Library. “And these light little notebooks will give them almost instantaneous access to our electronic resources and other sites on the Internet.”

Parents can work on a Chromebook in the children’s section while keeping an eye on their child. Teens can take the Chromebook into the teen section to be with their friends or into a study room to get homework done. Nowak said he would be thrilled to walk into the Marysville Library to see the Chromebooks being used by all ages, from kids and teens to adults who are older than him, and grandparents with their grandkids, all around the library.

Library customers who are interested in using the Chromebooks should speak to a library staff member. Library staff can help determine if the Chromebook is the best choice, or whether their needs will be better met by a job seeker’s laptop, preschooler’s iPad, or a desktop PC.

The Marysville Library is located at 7312 35th Ave. NE in Marysville.


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