Small Utah Company Wires SLC Library For Top Technology

Small Utah Company Wires SLC Library For Top Technology

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News Specialist Keith McCord reporting This Saturday, Salt Lake City's new main library will open up to the public. You've probably seen the modern building take shape on 400 South across from City Hall.

As far as libraries go, this one is probably more technologically advanced than any other.

When the library put out the specs for what it wanted as far as a computer network was concerned, more than a dozen companies were interested. But it was a small, 10-employee firm that got the job done.

"This is absolutely the best you can get today," says Brian Goodfellow, president of NetPath Systems.

Thousands of feet of cable and connectors, and a quarter-of-a-million dollars worth of equipment is almost in place at Salt Lake's new library.

With Saturday's opening deadline looming and workers scurrying around, this $50 million building is spectacular.

It's twice the size of the old main library. And whether you're looking for a particular book title, or wanting to surf the Internet, it will all be at your fingertips.

"People will be able to have access to the catalog, which is our primary purpose. The Internet, which is certainly a very, very powerful tool, and the speed with which the people can use the Internet here, far exceeds what people are used to at home, so that makes a big difference," says library director Nancy Tessman.

Down in the basement right now are boxes and boxes of brand new computer equipment. When it's all set up, there will be special rooms where people can come in and use the PCs for free.

Along the glass crescent-shaped wall are 120 workstations and several different levels where you can bring in your own laptop and work online.

"They'll be able to come in, and there will be these kiosks all up and down the wall here, and basically, you have a flip up and a power connection, an Ethernet connection," Goodfellow says.

Before installing the computer network in the library, NetPath Systems and its 10 employees made sure the setup would work by simulating the install in its own office.

"We took the equipment and staged it 100 percent in our facility, so that we knew exactly what our challenges, our obstacles, would be, so that when we brought it over here to install it we were able to do that in a half a day," Goodfellow says.

Hundreds of computer terminals, learning centers where kids can watch educational DVDs, and an automated check-out system are all part of the the new library.

That's quite a change from when the old main library first opened. Back then, electric typewriters had just come out!

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