ROLLA The Rolla Public Library is one of 38 libraries in the state to receive a Military Family Contact grant from the North Dakota State Library.
The grant provided the Rolla library with a laptop equipped with video conferencing capabilities, said library board member Sandy Smith. The equipment is intended for use by families of service members who are serving away from home. The North Dakota State Library, in a joint effort with the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council, established the grant for the "Military Family Contact" program.
Other libraries in the state that received the grant were Beulah Public Library, Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library, Bottineau County Library, Bowman Regional Public Library, Carrington City library, Casselton Public Library, Griggs County Library, Divide County Public Library, Dickinson Area Public Library, Enderlin Municipal Library, Garrison Public Library, Carnegie Regional Library, Grand Forks Public Library, Harvey Public Library, Hazen Public Library, Adams County Library, Hillsboro School & Public Library, Killdeer School & Public Library, Edna Ralston Public Library, Lidgerwood City Library, Morton Mandan Public Library, Max Community Library, McVille County Library, Minot Public Library, Ward County Public Library, Pembina School & Public Library, McLean Mercer Regional Library, Rolla Public Library, Heart of America Library in Rugby, Sherwood Public Library, Stanley Public Library, Turtle Lake Public Library, Velva School and Public Library, Leach Public Library, Walhalla Public Library, West Fargo Public Library, Williston Community Library and North Dakota State Library
Lois Menard, who works at the Rolla Public Library, demonstrates how to use the library’s new video conferencing software for military families.
Smith said Rolla library staff have set up the laptop computer in a small room with a door, which will give families privacy when they are talking with their loved ones via Skype.
"A lot of people don't have Skype at home," said Smith, whose own son has served overseas. "This way it will be a free service to military families and it won't be any more money money coming out of their pocket when they're trying to hold things together with people being gone."
Smith sad her son will be serving overseas again at some point and she is looking forward to being able to talk to him via Skype. It would have been nice to be able to have a face-to-face conversation with him the last time he served, said Smith. She talked to him by telephone, but it wasn't the same as being able to see him.
Smith said the service has only been available since last month.
"I'm hoping a lot of people will use it," she said.
The Rolla library also has a new scanner, which was funded with a state grant from money left over from grants provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Rolla Library, located in the City Hall, is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, log on to the library website at (www.rollapubliclibrary.net/).