The Wicomico County Free Library (WCFL) Libraries Online! project in Southeast Maryland proves a message they have espoused in their community: computer and telecommunication technology provide public libraries with an unprecedented opportunity to provide access to library information services as well as other government services in neighborhoods where a library and government facilities are currently not available. Libraries Online! has enabled WCFL to demonstrate that 1) the library is a place where patrons can not only access information and information technologies, but also where they can learn how to use these resources effectively and responsibly, and 2) computer and information technologies can help overcome the geographic and social boundaries that isolate poor and/or rural communities.
With Libraries Online! grant support, WCFL was able to create and manage two new "virtual library" sites in local communities with help from local human service and government agencies. These non-branch library learning centers are located in the Joseph House complex and the West Side Community Center. Networked labs were established so children, adults and seniors can learn, play or work to improve their computer literacy and job skills by utilizing the latest educational and productivity software and the internet.
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