Sno-Isle Libraries is upgrading public computers at all community libraries

Sno-Isle Libraries is bringing new public desktop and laptop computers to all 23 community libraries across Snohomish and Island counties.

It’s a big project that will have big impacts on both the experience for library customers and the Sno-Isle Libraries budget.

The new computers will improve performance over the current hardware. Some of the computers now available to customers are nearly eight years old, out of warranty and not keeping up with current software.

The change will also mean a more consistent customer experience within each library and from library to library. Sno-Isle Libraries now has more than 80 different models of computers across the library district. Customers say they notice the differences and choose a particular computer or a library based on the equipment available.

The move toward a goal of just five computer models is also expected to save money for the property tax-supported district. While the overall cost of the project is about $1.2 million this year, ongoing savings are anticipated through reduced costs of supporting so many different kinds of computers and through standardization of software needed for the computers. Making the upgrade all at once will also allow the district to move to a more predictable replacement schedule.

Additional savings are expected by ensuring the right computers are in the right locations for the right uses. A review in 2018 showed some computers were being maintained, but underutilized.

The computer swaps will also offer upgrade opportunities to replace non-standard monitors where needed.

And in addition to replacing all the public computers, library staff members will also see new machines as part of the efficiency and service-upgrade project. The project is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.