22K+ utilize APL’s computer services

Published 12:01 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lori and Lillian Mack make use of the APL’s computers on Wednesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Lori and Lillian Mack make use of the APL’s computers on Wednesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

More people are utilizing the Andalusia Public Library thanks to an improved adult learning program offered through the library and job searches, officials said Wednesday.

Andalusia Public Library Director Karin Taylor said more than 22,000 people used the library’s 32 Internet work stations last year, with a large number of them using Learning Express.

“It’s a really cool program,” she said. “It helps with adult learning. It has resources to help them prepare for high school equivalency and credentials for the GED.”

Learning Express also helps with workplace skill-building and professional development. Resources offered include soft skills, competency skills and other essential business skills.

The program also offers customizable resources to help patrons review, practice and receive instant diagnostic feedback.

“It has been upgraded and it’s a lot better,” she said. “Users can create profiles, which allows them to keep up with their progress.”

For English language learners, the program also offers resources in Spanish, Taylor said.

Additionally, Learning Express offers a college prep center to help locals prepare for college entrance exams. It also has a component for elementary through high school-aged children to help reinforce skills taught in the classroom.

Taylor said people are still using the library to apply for jobs or for unemployment.

“Last month alone, there were 874 people using the computers,” Taylor said. “We average 100-110 per day, and that doesn’t include our programs.”

The number of Internet patrons has seen an increase since the downturn in the economy.

In 2007, there were 13,000 patrons; in 2010 it increased to 21,000; and in 2014 the number was more than 22,000.

“We have so many people who come in and do resumes,” Taylor said. “You have to go online for many of today’s job applications. Some of them have never been on a computer and we want to help them with that.”

Taylor said the computer lab stays full.