Stillwater Public Library has new tech gadgets for public use


Story provided by Stillwater Public Library

In the past year, the way people interact with one another has changed significantly. Activities that were already increasingly taking place online, such as interviewing for jobs, meeting with doctors, attending classes and keeping in touch with loved ones, made a more permanent leap to online environments. These virtual communication trends are likely to continue. Thanks to grants from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Stillwater Public Library now has more tools to help people operate in this digital world. 

According to NPR, health care made many positive gains this year, especially in advancing “distributed care,” or care that happens at home and in the community. Health services have moved beyond the walls of clinics and hospitals. Convenience is an important factor.

“Especially for individuals with health issues, traveling outside of town for a doctor’s visit can be difficult,” said Library Director Stacy DeLano. “I want the library to be a place that facilitates telehealth visits for community members that do not have devices like webcams, noise canceling headphones, internet hotspots and tablets to meet with health care professionals online.”

The pandemic has also changed how people work and learn. Using video chat for doctor’s appointments, classes and work is part of the current standard. The library’s new resources ensure that the community has reliable access to the technology needed to successfully operate in virtual interactions.

“Whether your Internet is down, your headset just broke, or you don’t have access to technology, we want people to know that they can come to the library,” DeLano said. “We will not only have the tools you need, but reference librarians can also provide instruction for operating the devices.”

Ten webcams and noise canceling headsets are available for check out from the Help Desk for use in the library. Study rooms are also free to use for individuals who need to participate in private virtual meetings and calls. Librarians recommend reserving a room in advance to make sure it will be open and available when needed. 

For community members who need access to the Internet or a device at home, the library has added ten Wi-Fi hotspots and three tablets to their circulating collection. To qualify to borrow one of these devices, individuals must watch a 15-minute video about finding reliable health resources online and complete a short survey. Further requirements include being at least 18 years old, having a full-access library card, and completing an electronic device lending form.

The checkout period is one week, with the option to renew for one additional week if another patron is not waiting to use the device.

Anyone interested in using a webcam or headset in the library or checking out a hotspot or tablet to use at home may stop by the Help Desk or call (405) 372-3633 x8106 for more information. 

The hotspots were purchased to complement the library’s “Be Mindful” program. Extended use of the hotspots and tablets is possible for those who wish to participate in the 4-week, clinically proven mindfulness course online. The deadline to register to participate in the course is Tuesday, July 6. Learn more at library.stillwater.org/mastering_mindfulness.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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