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Library awarded two federal grants that will enhance services

By Josh Allen
ONL Staff Reporter

Two new grants awarded to the Okemah Public Library will allow for an upgrade to its internet infrastructure and connections, as well as the ability to provide ebooks and audiobooks, according to Director Teresa M. Labbe.

These two recent grants come on the heels of the announcement that the library were also selected to be one of only four libraries in the state to allow for the possibility of checking out wifi hotspots — a service that is now available.

This recently-awarded network remediation grant will work in tandem with the library’s e-rate grant and will enhance the internet service provided at the library, thus allowing for faster wifi, which is free to library patrons.

“Our library currently has 100 mbps (megabytes per second) coming in through ethernet, but because our wifi switch was over ten years old, it was unable to deliver the higher speeds,” Labbe explained. “That problem will be solved with the new equipment, so we will be able to offer better service to our patrons.”

Peak Uptime, Inc. will be providing the upgrade and started the first phase Thursday, Aug. 30.

The project is being funded through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with funds from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), a federal source of library funding provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The second grant is intended to provide ebook and audiobook content to cities and towns outside the metropolitan areas of Oklahoma. Labbe said this will provide new service opportunities all over the state.

The Okemah Public Library has now been added to the OK Virtual Library — a statewide library database that helps community libraries add content and services to its catalog.

“There has always been an interest from the community in ebooks, and it bothered me that we couldn’t offer that to our patrons,” Labbe said. “I’m really excited to now be able to provide this service to Okfuskee County.”

“OK Virtual Library’s collection consists of over 34,000 ebooks, 7,000 audiobooks and 600 videos,” she added.

Through library cards and the library’s Libby app, patrons will now have access to those thousands of audiobooks and ebooks. The Libby app is available on the app stores for iOS, Android and Windows 10.

This project is also funded by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Labbe said if anyone has questions or wants more information to call the library at 918-623-1915.

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