TBT: Computer Literacy 32 Years Ago

Posted October 22nd, 2014. No comments

Note: click on any image to enlarge.

This month, ACPL welcomed its first-ever Americorps member. The library is one of thirty libraries chosen by the State Library of Ohio to participate in Guiding Ohio Online. Over the next 11 months, ACPL will be able to offer in-depth one-on-one computer help and classes on specific topics, from interent browsing to Facebook. To see the current offerings, visit MyACPL.org/techtraining. Class topics will change periodically, so keep checking back.

Although this is the inaugural year for Guiding Ohio Online, it’s not the first time our library system has offered computer training. That got us thinking: when was the first time? To the archives!

The earliest reference we could find was a grant request dated October 27, 1982–almost exactly 32 years ago! Over seven pages, it details how the library planned to partner with Hocking Technical College (now Hocking College) to offer hands-on experience with a personal computer at the Athens branch.

from page 3, Method

Notably, number 5 still holds true: the library will make computers available to all users at no charge. The planned outcomes still sound viable, too, especially, “Young people in the community could have access to equipment outside of school which would prepare them for future computer-related educational and employment opportunities.”

from page 4, Outcomes

And finally, the budget. It wasn’t overly-ambitious, just asking for one computer and a handful of peripherals (floor space was probably a concern):

from page 6, Budget

In case you’re wondering, here’s what an Apple II Plus looked like:

A typewriter with a monitor?

For comparisons sake, today you could buy an iMac for about the same amount of money with a 3.5 GHz processor and 8GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive.

Apparently the grant was successfully funded. Although he wasn’t on staff at the time, ACPL’s former Director Stephen Hedges remembers this computer: “that Apple II was sitting in the front window of the library on Court Street when I started working there. By that time, 1993, only one guy ever came in to use it.” Of course, it would have been over 10 years old! As discussed in a previous blog post, we know that by 1988 there was at least one other newer computer for use in the library: Friends Purchase New Computer for the Library.

Rest assured that our current slate of computer training courses will be much more advanced and use more modern equipment!

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