Pottsboro Public Library
Digital Connector of the Month Shakes Things Up in Texas
"It smells like old people," said Dianne Connery's son when he first walked into the Pottsboro Library. Sixties style architecture, books that had not been checked out in years, and a dwindling budget greeted Dianne when she took over library operations in 2011. Relocating from the bustling Dallas Metroplex, Dianne had to get used to the pace in Pottsboro, Texas, a small town with a population of 2,160.
With her son's comment on her mind, Dianne went to work. By taking out truckloads of books, knocking down walls, and introducing up-to-date technology, the library came back to life. With more open space, free Wi-Fi, and more computers, the library feels more like an Internet cafe.
The Pottsboro Library is frequented by two very different segments of the population: low-income students and technologically curious retirees. One-on-one training with "TechPerts" has allowed retirees to improve their technological chops. They can impress their grandchildren by using Skype on their smartphones and digitizing family photo albums.
Students, 42 percent of whom are on the reduced lunch program, rely on the library for their computing needs. Staying open on Sundays and providing Microsoft Word and Excel trainings are just two of the services offered to teens. While facing hard times, a local high school student used the Excel software, available on the library's computers, to produce a food plan that fed two people for two weeks on 20 dollars.
As a self-described webinar junkie, Dianne found TechSoup in 2011. She requested Windows 8 and Adobe product donations. With Microsoft Office, library patrons can now use Excel to create budgets, and Word to create resumes. With Adobe InDesign, the library was able to start its own newsletter, entirely run by high school students looking to bolster their college applications. With access to new tools and technology, Dianne has been able to transform a relic of the past into a modern facility pushing its community into the future.