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Glen Oaks library branch receives 17 new computers

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A total of 110 new computers has recently been installed in seven Queens Public Library branches located within Councilman David Weprin’s (D-Hollis) district.

The new, black Dell computers, some of which have flat-screen monitors, were purchased using $125,000 in city funds secured by Weprin. They are much faster than the old computers, according to Jennifer Honickman, an assistant manager for the library’s Hollis branch.

“I had this unbelievably ancient computer. I mean I was ready to throw it out of the window,” said Honickman. “Now I can go from window to window. I can be printing something and jump to another window to look up a book.”

Fourteen new computers were placed in the Hollis branch library. The other new computers were allocated as follows: 16 to the Bellerose branch, 19 to Fresh Meadows, 17 to Glen Oaks, 19 to Queens Village, 12 to Windsor Park, and 13 to Little Neck.

Weprin said being chairman of the Finance Committee helped him to obtain funds for the new computers quickly after Queens Library Director Gary Strong approached him.

“All along our Council has put education first,” he said. “That’s why this is so important to us ... A lot of people don’t have a PC at home and rely on computers in schools and libraries.”

Weprin, 46, said his five children often end up going to their branch library to use the computers instead of fighting over the one computer they have at home.

The new computers, which are all connected to printers, are equipped with Internet access as well as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. There is a 30-minute or one-hour time limit for working on the computers, depending on the branch and the number of people waiting.

“About 50,000 people walk into Queens libraries every day — enough people to fill the entire Shea stadium,” said Strong. “Our objective is to have the library be an integral part of the community and people’s lives.”

The 23rd Council District was the last within Queens to receive new library computers, apparently because former Councilman Sheldon Leffler did not allocate funds for them, said Marc Haken, the community liaison for Weprin.

“We hadn’t gotten specific requests for money for computers in libraries,” said Leffler. “I did earmark quite a good bit of money for improvements in libraries — for making libraries accessible to disabled, for lighting, for books, for remodeling, for making the hours longer.”

In addition to securing funds for new library computers, which cost $1,100 each, Weprin also obtained a few million dollars to add and replace computers in district schools.

“I think we’re good as far as computers go,” said Weprin.

Queens libraries have computer help desks and offer basic computer training sessions for the public. In addition, they have a teen computer mentoring program, which hires teenagers to help the public to use computers.

Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-3300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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