ASHLAND • The Benton County Library System will soon be upgrading the operating systems on their computers with a grant they received last year.

The $3,000 grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was applied for in the spring of 2019 and awarded in July. LSTA is the only federal program exclusively for libraries. It is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). State libraries use the funds to support statewide initiatives and also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to public, school, academic, research, and special libraries.

Library Director Jeanie Burton said that the Benton County Library system will upgrade their computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10 with the money. The library system has 12 computers in all, eight at the Bond Memorial Library and four at the Hickory Flat Library.

Burton said that the libraries computers are used for a variety of projects from email and social media to school projects and proctoring test for online courses. Patrons are able to fill out job applications, build resumes, do taxes and download check stubs and W2s.

Since much of Benton County does not have reliable internet the computers can be used by those seeking a reliable connection. Burton said that each library also offers free WIFI for those who want to bring their own laptop or smartphone.

The library systems has until June 30 to use their grant money.

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