Exciting things are brewing at the Cedar County Library branches in Stockton and in El Dorado Springs. 

Elaina Daniels, Cedar County Library director, spoke to the CCR about the new free Wi-Fi offered at both branches of the Cedar County Library in the facilities’ parking lots.

“Earlier this summer, about July, there was a grant opportunity from the state that was made available, and it was through the Missouri Department of Economic Development,” Daniels said, speaking on how the Wi-Fi became available. “It was an opportunity for libraries to write a grant where you can provide things such as expanding Wi-Fi or internet.”

For example, Daniels said, if the library had 20 megabytes per second, they could boost it up to 50 megabytes, which means “people can download things faster, computers work a little bit faster.”

Daniels said different libraries wrote the grant for different things, and “we were fortunate to receive one of those.”

“Our grant was to expand our Wi-Fi out into the parking lot so that people could use it,” Daniels said. “We also are upping our bandwidth from 20 to 50 megabytes, so we have larger bandwidth capabilities.”

The uppage in bandwidth is still being worked on at Stockton’s library branch. Additionally, the Cedar County Library was also able to purchase some laptops with the grant money. In a couple of weeks, there will be a laptop available at both Stockton and El Dorado Springs branches for patrons to check out and use for in-library use only. 

“They can use it to work on schoolwork, or they get on it for a telehealth visit with their doctor or healthcare provider,” Daniels said, giving examples of the laptops’ benefits. 

The Wi-Fi connectivity will be available from 5 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Sunday at both branch locations. 

The access the Wi-Fi connection, users in should select the network named “Library Patron Secure” and use password “openbook” on any wireless device.

Daniels said it has been a wonderful opportunity for the libraries to be able to provide this service to patrons; she has seen visitors in the parking lot at 7 a.m. in the morning when she comes in, and “people will be sitting out there and working on things, so I know it’s been being used well already.”

Additionally, the Cedar County Library is having a “Food For Fines” program, Daniels said. 

From now until Friday, Dec. 18, patrons may pay off their fines by donating food items to benefit a Cedar County food bank. 

Bring in any nonperishable, unexpired grocery item, and the library will waive $1 of fines — not lost items — for each individual item. Canned goods, toilet paper, paper towels and diapers are all acceptable. 

The Cedar County Library also received a grant from Cedar County to implement “touchless” features in the library; now, the libraries’ public restrooms have automatic toilets, sinks, soaps and paper towel dispensers.

And finally, a big thing happening at the El Dorado Springs branch is the New Building Project. The plan is to build a new 7,500 square foot brick library facility just north of the current library on South Main Street. 

“We are in the fundraising process,” Daniels said. “We are very excited about it. We started getting some donations and are happy to accept more.”

The fundraising goal is around $900,000, she said, and they already have around $400,000 that people have donated in the past. 

“We’re really excited to keep pushing through with that,” Daniels said. “El Dorado deserves a new library so badly.”

The present El Do library facility is approaching 70 years old. In the past few years, the roof of that building has begun leaking and although the city of El Dorado Springs has worked to repair those leaks. Due to roof design, it continues to leak with no clear, practical, long term remedy. 

Overall, Daniels said, the library has “so much to offer” for Cedar Countians, and she hopes to help patrons figure out all the ways they can utilize the library’s resources. 

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