Military Web cam available at Luverne Library

Published 5:32 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

The Luverne Public Library has joined the technological bandwagon to help military families keep in touch with loved ones overseas.

Libraries around the state are starting up Web cam services to military families to help them communicate with someone who has been deployed.

“I think this is a wonderful idea,” said Rene Lester, director of the Luverne Public Library.

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Lester said that many thanks belonged to the contributions of Gov. Bob Riley’s Connecting Families Program, Bill and Melinda Gates for financial contributions, and the coordination of the Alabama Public Library Services.

Luverne is one of 126 libraries in the state involved; they started the program in January.

“Gov. Riley is aware of the technology that has been developing in Alabama,” said Lester.

According to a recent press release, the project got its start in October when the Governor’s staff heard Randy Hickman, a chief warrant officer with the National Guard, explained he could not see his family through Web cams as other troops could.

It was discovered that the issue was not lack of broadband in Al Asad, Iraq, which is where Hickman was stationed, but the lack of broadband in rural Alabama.

Riley’s Connecting Families Project helped put together the program by putting computers with broadband capabilities in public libraries across the state.

Apple’s Macs are being used to aid in the communications, and by using software called Skype, instant messaging and Web cams are helping the families stay in touch.

“Libraries are the information communication center for many communities, so this will help people who do not have access to a computer,” Lester said.

“We really want our military families to come take advantage of what the library has to offer when it comes to keeping in touch with their loved ones overseas,” she said.