Software lets families contact troops

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New software at the Chilton/Clanton Public Library is bringing loved ones in the military a little closer to home.

The library just received new equipment provided by the governor’s office and disseminated through the Alabama Public Library Service for the benefit of military families.

The software, Skype, will allow anyone who registers a username and password to contact a member of the military either overseas or in the U.S., providing that the other person is also registered with Skype.

Through the use of a Web cam, people can see each other and talk online free of charge, Library Director Jo Abernathy said.

“That’s what’s going to make it so great for daddies and sons who are off in the military,” she said. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our military families.”

The state grant that funded the program did not require any match from local libraries. The software was strategically placed in libraries across the state, and selected libraries were given the choice of whether or not to participate.

“Military families are basically the reason they’ve done this,” Abernathy said.

The computer may be placed on a cart and can be moved to anywhere in the library for privacy. The only requirement for people to use the software is that they have a relative in the military with access to the program.

At this point, the only time restrictions are those imposed on members of the military.

“I’m sure families will have to set up a time with whomever they’re talking to,” Abernathy said.

For more information, contact the library at 755-1768, ext. 1.

—Scott Mims can be reached at