BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Public Library is pleased to announce three new offerings that are geared toward help residents – and especially students – in Upshur County.
First, students looking to connect to the internet to complete schoolwork have an additional option, and Upshur County Public Library Director Paul Norko said his facility is pleased to be able to offer a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot loan program. The program, announced earlier this month, allows people to borrow the spot for a two-week period with unlimited data plans and up to 10 devices per single hot spot.
“Basically, the hot spot is just like if you went to AT&T or any other cellphone stores,” Norko explained. “It basically works just like a cellphone. You need to be in range of a Sprint or T-Mobile network and there are some areas of Upshur County where these hotspots do not work.”
Norko said the procedure to check out a hot spot from the library is this: a patron who is over the age of 18 must come into the Upshur County Public Library, present a library card in good standing, fill out the form and check out the hot spot for two weeks.
“The period for check out is two weeks, but it can be renewed two more times if no one is waiting for one of the devices,” Norko said. “Basically, the hot spot allows them to get onto the internet from wherever they are at and lets them have internet access.”
He said these hot spots were made possible through a grant from the West Virginia Library Commission for two years of service. The UCPL has 11 available for loan.
“Folks can still come in during library hours and use the computers and connect to the internet, but these hots pots can be checked out and taken for home use,” Norko said. “The one-to-one devices for the students are great – but those students need internet to send in their work and this will help them do that.”
Norko said the hot spots are on an unlimited data plan so folks do not have to worry about how much data they use when they are borrowed.
The second opportunity offered through the UCPL and Upshur County Schools has to do with the Overdrive apps.
“Overdrive provides our eBooks and audio eBooks,” Norko said. “There are also digital magazines on there. This is coming soon, and it allows students to use their assigned Gmail account that was set up for their one-to-one devices. This would allow students when they’re in school or home to check out eBooks and audio eBooks. It filters books due to the student’s age.”
One of the advantages of using the Overdrive app and the Gmail account is that students are not required to come into the UCPL with an adult to get a library card – something which can be difficult for parents who work and for students who have transportation difficulties.
“It is difficult for some people, but those who have their Gmail sign-in information do not have to come in to access the books,” Norko said. “We would love to see everyone come into the library, but this will allow access to books.”
Finally, beginning June 1 and running through July 1, the UCPL is offering its summer reading program.
“The details are still being completed, but the program will be anytime the library is open along with the online component,” Norko said. “We will be using the READsquared application which helps track reading.”
Norko said the summer reading will be geared to three categories – school-aged youth, teenagers and adult.
“This year, we will have an ‘I Spy’ Cabinet where people can come in and get a code and earn tickets for prizes,” Norko said. “There will be something different each week along with challenges in the app.”
In a normal year, Norko said the summer reading program attracts more than 300 people.
Norko also wanted to note that he was proud of his employees’ professionalism and dedication, qualities he said helped to carry the library through the worst of the pandemic and continues to carry it.
“We have people who have been here for many years,” Norko said. “Between three of my employees, we have about 70 years of experience. That helps a lot when they are facing a new problem. When COVID hit, we were able to use the deep well of knowledge they possess to come up with good programs.”
The Upshur County Public Library is located at 1150 Route 20 South Road in Buckhannon. Information is available online at http:/upshurcounty.lib.wv.us/ and they have a Facebook page. Questions can be emailed to email@example.com or you can contact them by calling 304-473-4219.
Upshur County Public Library hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.