RUTLAND —On July 27, Optum announced it will donate 45 refurbished laptop computers to five public libraries across Vermont, in support of the state’s efforts to bring online access and Internet-based services to as many residents as possible.
Optum, the information technology vendor for Vermont’s health insurance marketplace, Vermont Health Connect, will donate nine laptops each to Rutland Free Library, Aldrich Public Library (Barre), Essex Free Library, Brooks Memorial Library (Brattleboro) and Cobleigh Public Library (Lyndon). The donations will occur over the next few months to give local libraries an opportunity to plan their expanded public computing programs and publicize the new laptops.
The Rutland Free Library will be the first library to receive its computers at a donation ceremony on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m., hosted by Library Director Abby Noland and Assistant Director Randal Smathers. The library serves 22,000 people in Mendon, Rutland City, Rutland Town, Tinmouth and Ira.
“Vermont has made it a priority to connect residents to the Internet regardless of their geographic locations or income,” said Martha Reid, state librarian. “Libraries are vital community information centers, and part of their mission is to provide their patrons with health education and information, which is increasingly becoming web-based. We are grateful to Optum for this generous donation, which will allow greater citizen access to the wealth of information online.”
The Optum donation program is part of the company’s commitment to contribute to organizations in states where it does business and in which its employees reside, according to Brendan Hogan, the company’s executive client manager for the state of Vermont.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to help Vermont’s libraries provide vital services to their residents,” Hogan said. “As a lifelong Vermonter, I’m familiar with the critical role libraries play as meeting places and community centers. Our hope is that these laptops will further foster this collaborative and productive atmosphere in libraries across the state.”