In June 1998, the Taylor Public Library Board of Directors and the library staff announced the arrival of the Taylor Public Library catalog on the Internet. View the Online Catalog. Two grants received by the library made it possible to have our catalog accessible via the Internet. The library received a grant from the Tocker Foundation to purchase software, a computer, and a barcode reader. The second grant was from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board. It provided a multi-function PC server, four workstations, a network printer, Internet connectivity hardware, cabling, network software, and network and cable installation costs. At that time our library had 17 computers, including staff computers, connected to the Internet.
In Fall 2000 the Taylor Public Library received an LB6 grant from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board (TIFB). We have completed the purchase and installation of equipment and software provided by this grant. The library also received a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation library grant for 4 public access computers and a server. The Gates computers have Windows NT operating system with Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office 2000, Encarta Encyclopedia, and several other programs. The TIFB grant provided 7 public access desktop computers and 10 public access laptop computers with Windows 2000 operating system, Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Microsoft Office 2000. The desktop computers have 17" monitors. Six new staff computers have flat screen monitors.
The TIFB grant allowed the library to acquire a wireless connection for faster Internet access. Equipment to support the wireless connection and network included a Cisco router, switch, and access points. A color laser printer/copier, a digital camera, a smart board, and a charging cart for the laptop computers were purchased with some of the grant funds. Library patrons are pleased with the new equipment and software available at our library. Since our beginning in 1994 with dial-up access to one Internet station we have made a several changes. We upgraded our original dial-up access first to an ISDN line, and now to a wireless connection. We set up a server in the library where we keep our web pages along with pages for other Taylor agencies. When we set our own server we were able to provide e-mail for city staff and patrons at the library.
When we began keeping statistics on patron Internet use in January 1996, only 4 patrons used the services that month. Demand has grown rapidly, and in fiscal year 2004-2005 17,815 patrons used the Internet. The users come from different backgrounds and age groups and use the Internet for a wide variety of reasons such as job searches, rock music information, genealogy research, medical information, and e-mail. The Texas State Library and the Central Texas Library System have made many full text databases available to patrons at the library. Students and others find these databases to be a valuable source of information. Watch our Internet site for more exciting developments in the future.