Library upgrades Internet service

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County library users soon will have Internet service that is 100 times larger and faster when an upgrade to computer circuits that link libraries together is completed.

Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County Library Director Alan Hall said the library is working with Horizon and Ohio Public Library Information Network to upgrade all of the library’s circuits throughout Jefferson County to better handle the computer traffic within its system and connections to the Serving Every Ohioan Library Center in Caldwell where the main frame computer is located and outside the network into the world of Internet services.

The Serving Every Ohioan Library Center in Caldwell supports a consortium of 89 library systems at nearly 201 physical locations throughout 46 counties across Ohio using the OPLIN network.

“PLSJ was one of the first four public libraries to connect to the SEO Library Center 25 years ago. Today that network has 90 library systems with 201 locations in 46 counties of Ohio. More than 7 million items can be borrowed from those library collections, as well as the new e-Book collection of more than 160,000 items that can be downloaded to the library customer’s electronic device,” said Hall.

Hall noted the upgrade of the computer circuits has been under way for some time.

“We have been working with OPLIN to increase the capacity of the trunk line from the state communications system to Jefferson County. We have also contracted with Horizon of Chillicothe to bring fiber optic to all of our local locations,” he said.

Horizon was formed in 1895 as the Home Telephone Co. and expanded into computer circuitry and broadband communications in Southern Ohio, including the Southern Ohio Healthcare Network that brought modern communications to a 13-county region of Ohio.

In 2010, Horizon received a federal stimulus grant that extended the fiber network to 21 additional counties of Southern and Eastern Ohio.

The purpose of the connecting Ohio project was to connect a number of community anchor institutions such as educational, business, government and health care agencies.

According to Hall, “all of the Jefferson County library branches except Toronto and Adena have been linked, and with the expansion of the trunk line to Columbus, the library system will have the latest fiber optic connections available in this area.”