Grand County libraries: High-speed Internet access at libraries is good for the local economy
May 9, 2008
High-speed Internet access at the public library is helping to bolster Grand County’s growing economy.
It may not seem self-evident at first, but the Grand County Library District’s high-speed Internet access offered at all five of its libraries, which is free to the users, is doing more than providing access to the World Wide Web. It’s also providing a critical service that is expected by tourists, workers, students and professionals in thriving resort communities.
It supports Grand County’s tourist economy.
It provides a basic service of communication and information access for many of the people who work in the local economy.
It prevents many part-time residents from paying for Internet access at their primary residence and at their second homes here in Grand County.
It provides a service that is needed by professionals working in Grand County.
The service also provides a needed backup when a person’s home or workplace Internet connection is too slow or fails.
A library card is not required for people wanting to use the libraries’ high-speed Internet access, whether it is on a high-speed WiFi connection to a personal laptop or on a computer in place at the library.
As Grand County’s tourism-based economy has grown, so has the use of the high-speed Internet and WiFi access at the library by tourists. Tourists from across the United States and from around the globe have learned to count on public libraries for instant access to friends, family and work anywhere on the planet.
Just ask your librarian and you will see that visitors to Grand County use Internet access at Your Library. Don’t be surprised if you see a traveler from England or Germany getting online at the public library.
It’s what tourists are doing around the world. It’s expected.
Lynn Shirley, Branch Librarian in Hot Sulphur Springs, says tourists take advantage of the Internet connections available at her library. Similar uses are made at the Juniper Library in Grand Lake and in Granby, where tourists communicate with home, send photos of their trips or touch base with the home office. Often, they come in to print off their boarding pass before they fly back home.
This use of high-speed Internet at the library is growing into an important component of a viable tourism trade.
Grand County has evolved from being a ranching and rural county to one that is increasingly resort- and vacation-oriented. Tourists are now counting on high-speed Internet access as a nearly indispensable part of their trips. In this way, the Grand County Library District is providing a valuable amenity for Grand County’s visitors.
The use of high-speed Internet access by non-locals isn’t confined to tourists only. Librarians can tell you that workers in Grand County who are from foreign countries make extensive use of the high-speed Internet connections at the library.
Fraser Valley Branch Librarian Kathy Mikol said foreign workers who have been hired to work a season at the Winter Park Resort have used the high speed Internet at the Fraser Valley Library. She said she frequently sees visitors communicating on the computers in the library in languages such as Portuguese and Spanish.
The same is true for the Granby Library, where foreign workers at SolVista Basin the high-speed Internet that’s available there. Charlie Mayfield, Vice-President of Operations and Marketing at SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch, says the ski area’s international workers like knowing they have the high-speed Internet access right in town.
With these free Internet connections to the world the Grand County Library District is also able to help employers in Grand County by giving employees quick access to home. Nothing helps feeling at home in a foreign workplace more than communicating with friends or family.
Grand County’s employers understand the importance of keeping workers happy. Finding and keeping workers is a growing issue in resort economies where seasonable workers are hard to find. Helping these workers stay in touch with their homes, even if home is in Brazil or Australia, is an important element for keeping seasonal workers content.
In this way, the Grand County Library District is helping to support that critical aspect of your local economy.
Knowledge and training are increasingly important aspects of any good work force in Grand County. For locals and for visitors who might want to work in Grand County, high-speed Internet access helps to provide knowledge and training for jobs.
Grand County may not have its own community college, but it does have high-speed access to outside educational resources through the Internet. Continuing education classes in a wide variety of fields are also offered via the Internet. In cases where local students need high-speed access that is faster than what’s available at home, the Grand County Libraries have just what’s needed.
High-speed access is particularly critical for conferencing over the Internet or for class instruction in a live setting offered over the Internet.
With high-speed Internet access, the Grand County Library District helps provide that service.
Professionals working in the county also have grown to depend on high-speed Internet access. Whether it’s a lawyer researching a court filing at the Hot Sulphur Springs Library or an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) brushing up on medical information, the high-speed Internet access is a critical and expected element of doing business in Grand County.
Businessmen who need to stay on top of breaking deals also especially benefit from that access.
The high-speed Internet computers and the WiFi availability also provides a valuable back-up for business people and residents who lose their Internet access or who need high speeds for a particular type of work.
“We have a patron who comes in the library when their home computer service is down,” said Glyn Sheppard, Branch Librarian at the Kremmling Library. “They bring their lap top to the library to write and edit newsletters and articles for a Christian mission organization.”
Such a back-up service is critical since “down-time” is lost revenue for many types of businesses.
The diversified resort economy in Grand County is expanding at a rapid pace. The high-speed Internet and WiFi access at the public library is helping to accommodate that expansion.
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