(L to R: William Marks, Facebook community development manager; Andrew Gold, Prineville Data Center Site manager, Facebook; Ristine Williams, Prineville Data Center site coordinator, Facebook; Buzzy Nielsen, Crook County Library director; Laura Nofziger, Prineville Data Center facilities manager; Carrie Gordon, Friends of the Crook County Library treasurer | Photo Courtesy of Crook County Library)
Crook County’s unique mix of traditional and modern industries, such as data centers, creates a dynamic economy and culture. However, not everyone has been able to keep up with the fast pace of innovation.
In recognition of this county-wide need, Facebook’s Prineville Data Center has awarded $100,000 to the Friends of the Crook County Library to enhance technology education throughout Crook County.
Technology education was the single-most-requested goal in Crook County Library’s recent strategic planning process. Facebook and Crook County Library are ideally positioned partners to tackle this need, with Facebook’s technological expertise complementing the library’s connection to the community.
Recent analyses have shown that a significant number of Crook County residents are uncomfortable with new technology. This discomfort comes amidst a changing world where mobile and web-based tools increasingly serve as lifelines to essential services such as government benefits, housing, utilities or even simply staying connected with friends and family. The Facebook grant seeks not only to improve technology and vocational education, but also to provide more programming in the outlying areas of the county, improving access by older adults and continuing to offer fun, safe activities for youth of all ages.
Facebook’s grant to the Friends of the Library will support several pieces of new equipment aimed at improving Crook County’s access to technology and vocational education, including:
- New laptop and tablet computers, allowing staff to teach classes to larger groups of people on the latest technology.
- Carrying cases, portable screens and projectors for teaching on-the-go.
- Backpacks with tablets and WiFi hotspots, which members of the public may check out to give technology access throughout the county.
- Robotics kits to teach Crook County students coding and other skills needed for the modern economy.
- A van to carry all the new equipment, allowing the library to reach every corner of the county.
The new equipment will help the Crook County Library achieve several initiatives the public identified as being of the highest priority in the library’s recently adopted strategic plan. The library hopes to start rolling out new classes in late spring, with other activities such as robotics and technology backpacks becoming available later in the year.
“Since we broke ground on our Prineville Data Center, Facebook has been committed to investing in the vitality of the community. We are thrilled to partner with the Crook County Library to help bring technology education to local residents,” said William Marks, community development regional manager at Facebook. “We hope this grant will help make technology more accessible to people of all ages in Crook County, wherever they live.”
Facebook has been a part of the Prineville community since 2010 when it established the Prineville Data Center. The facility supports the community through a number of grants and programs, including Community Action Grants, a program created to address needs in Crook County by putting the power of technology to use for community benefit, connecting people online or off and improving STEM education.
The Friends of the Crook County Library is an independent nonprofit that promotes literacy and reading throughout the county, primarily by supporting the Library. The group raises funds from a variety of sources including monthly and ongoing book sales, Chapters Bookstore for Kids, memberships and grants.