State Library Connects Military Families - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

State Library Connects Military Families

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Inside the oldest building still standing on the capitol grounds is some of the newest technology keeping people connected.

"We are very excited about the program. We are hopeful of heavy use," says North Dakota state librarian Hulen Bivin.

The North Dakota State Library is launching the Military Family Contact program, which connects people with computers, so they can connect with military family members deployed overseas or elsewhere in the country.

"We've got a lot of young men and women all over the globe and if their grandparents, loved ones, parents would like to talk to them and get that face-to-face communication, what a great opportunity," says Col. David Thiele, North Dakota National Guard.

Military Family Contact will be available at 38 public libraries throughout the state. The selected sites all have extended night and weekend hours when the video conferencing will be available, since daytime at home isn't always daytime overseas.

"The time zones around the world are quite flexible and we want to make sure the libraries serve our population as broadly as possible," Wilber Stolt, North Dakota Library Coordinating Council.

They say while we might think that everyone has an internet connection at home and has a program like Skype, that just isn't true.

And even those who do have that connection can find it unreliable.

"The weather can affect that quality a lot of people have in their residence, and so it may be they need to come in to the public library where there's a stronger bandwidth," Bivin says.

Library leaders say military families in North Dakota have always been supporters of the library, and this is their chance to turn the tables and be able to support them in return.

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