“San Bernardino City Library Foundation Plans to Fund $306,000 San Bernardino Public Library Technology Upgrade Project.”
The San Bernardino City Library Foundation Board of Directors announced that it plans to purchase and donate some $306,000 of hardware and software to fund a badly-needed library technology upgrade for the San Bernardino Public Library at its annual meeting tonight.
Almost all of the library’s servers and computers are from 2006 and 2008. The library lacks any funds in its city operating budget for such a project. The library operates with less than half its operating budget of 2008 when San Bernardino first began being greatly impacted by that year’s national economic crisis on its way to declaring bankruptcy in 2012, according to the Library Director, Ed Erjavek.
“The City Library Foundation board’s extremely generous donation to fully fund this technology upgrade is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Erjavek. “This is a great example of the foundation stepping up for an extraordinary project to benefit the community since if there’s any community that can benefit from a free public library, it’s San Bernardino. The library board led by its President Dr. Milton Clark, the staff and I are very grateful to the foundation’s board.”
Erjavek says that one of library’s main contributions for its patrons is helping to bridge the “digital divide” between those who have access to current technology to look for a job and those who don’t, which is a challenge in what has been described as the poorest community of its size in the state.
Library patrons often use the 33 free public PCs with Internet access at Feldheym Library, 11 at Villasenor and eight each at Rowe and Villasenor Branches to look for a job, prepare a resume, write a paper for school and stay in touch with family, according to Erjavek. An estimated 146 PCs used in library operations are scheduled to be replaced by the project’s completion, he said. The library also offers a free wireless network for its patrons.
The library director says the large scale technology project will take part in stages with setting up the servers being the first priority. The library director and staff requests patience from the public as it may be a while before it starts seeing new PCs.
Among the foundation’s other special projects include purchasing library books and paying for various electronic databases including Overdrive’s eBooks and audiobooks that are free for library cardholders as the library has little money in its city budget for library materials. Libraries offer databases with licensed information not freely available on the general Internet.
The San Bernardino City Library Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation created to provide funding for areas of education, programming, materials, capital improvements and special projects that are beyond the usual and customary funding received by the library from the city of San Bernardino, according to its mission statement.
Erjavek says residents and community business interests wanting to help the library can make monetary contributions to its support groups including the foundation and the Friends of the San Bernardino Public and by donating gently-used library materials.
Further library information is available at www.sbpl.org . The foundation may be reached at 909-381-8211.