published Friday, November 25th, 2011

Bradley County library approves digital upgrades and holiday programs

By Paul Leach/Correspondent
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    Cleveland Bradley County Public Library Director Andrew Hunt

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To learn more about Cleveland Bradley County Public Library programming, call 423-472-2163 or visit the library's online calendar at www.clevelandlibrary.org.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Cleveland Bradley County Public Library will move forward with plans to increase its digital book collection, improve its wireless access and expand computer-related programming and services, officials said this week.

The library board on Tuesday night reviewed the planned digital improvements, December holiday programming and upcoming changes to the Tennessee Regional Library System.

Library Director Andrew Hunt said the library will take advantage of a state technology grant to purchase a dozen new computers and a new computer server next year. The grant will match $7,000 in library funding to be spent on the equipment, he said.

The library also has made progress in its efforts to clean up patrons' access to its wireless service, Hunt said. He said laptop users should notice a marked improvement on the library's first floor and that wireless access from the second floor should be greatly improved by summer.

More electronic books also will be added to the library's collection, along with more digital book-device classes, he said. The director said the library will receive a free Sony digital book reader upon purchasing $3,500 in electronic texts by the end of the year and the free reader immediately will join a selection of demonstration devices, he said.

Hunt said the library will kick off holiday events by month's end, including noontime cider and piano music gatherings, breakfasts with Mrs. Claus and choral performances by local elementary students. The library also will show "The Polar Express" for December's movie night.

"It will be an active December," he said.

Behind the scenes, changes also will be coming to the Fort Loudoun Regional Library System, according to Regional Director Beth Allen Mercer. The system, based in Athens, Tenn., provides material and support to 27 libraries in the Southeast Tennessee counties of Blount, Bradley, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Rhea and Roane.

A recent restructuring of the Tennessee Regional Library System has left Fort Loudoun Regional Library with the same client libraries under its administrative umbrella, Mercer said.

"We know our region and will continue to serve it," she said.

The regional library wants to enable local libraries to receive books and other materials directly from vendors instead processing the items in-house, she said, reducing the lag between ordering items and getting them on the shelves.

All Tennessee regional libraries will be renamed after rivers, starting in July. The Fort Loudoun Regional Library will be renamed the Ocoee River Regional Library.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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