Starting in January of 2001, the Four County Library System, headquartered in Vestal, NY, began sending out “The Cybermobile”. While not the first to provide library patrons with internet access, this bookmobile was the first in America to do so by satellite. Located on the outskirts of the Catskills, the four counties of Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego are so isolated as to not even be completely accessible by land line. Satellite was quickly determined the best way to bring the Web to the Cybermobile’s 60 plus stops. It had a 1.2-meter controllable rooftop satellite dish antenna and full-time access with 100% closed network capability, essentially the same method used by the military to bring communication to remote areas. The vehicle boasted six ThinkPad notebook computers (courtesy of IBM) and two printers. The $295,000 cost of the project was covered by grants and other support, including a $50,000 New York State Senate initiative, a $105,000 federal appropriation from US Senator Charles Schumer and US Representative Maurice Hinchey, as well as grants from five private foundations and the Verizon Foundation. The Cybermobile was also supported by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds.
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