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Library software going unused

A brand new, wireless computer at the Chilton/Clanton Public Library has gone unused by the public since December, and nobody quite knows why.

The computer has special software and a Web cam that allows military families to contact loved ones overseas. More than 100 such computers were placed in libraries across Alabama as part of Gov. Bob Riley’s Connecting Families program.

But libraries across the state — including Clanton’s — have seen little response to the new innovation.

“Maybe word just hasn’t gotten to the right person yet,” Library Director Jo Abernathy said.

Or, she supposed, perhaps families have been unsuccessful coordinating a time when they could talk to their loved ones via Web cam.

In order to use the software, known as Skype, people on both ends of the Web must register a username and password. There is no charge for the service.

The computer is wireless capable, meaning it can be moved anywhere in the library in case privacy is an issue. The library also received a roll-around cart just for that purpose.

“We would love to be able to provide that service to anybody, and we will do anything we can to help them,” Abernathy said.

Thus far, just one person has inquired about the service — a woman whose son may be going to Afghanistan.

“That’s really the only inquiry we’ve had about it,” Abernathy said.

For more information about the program, call the library at 755-1768.