Base library gets bigger, better Wi-Fi

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- When it comes to promoting education, Offutt continues to lead the way thanks to its educational partners of Bellevue University, Creighton University, Metropolitan Community College, Peru State College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Omaha, and University of Oklahoma, said Sam Myers, lead training manager, Education and Training Services Flight.

Through their financial support, the base library now has unfiltered broadband wireless internet.

"Having unfiltered wireless broadband expands the research capabilities the Library can provide," said Diane Panek, the library's IT manager. "For example, streaming video is a major resource for current events, training and online classrooms, but our other customer network couldn't support it."

At a ribbon cutting April 15, spectators were amazed at how quickly images of current
foreign newspapers from the library's PressDisplay service displayed. "The Overdrive foreign language audiobooks will download much faster, too," Ms. Panek added.

Once the library staff provides a time-sensitive password, users can connect to the Wi-Fi anywhere in the building, including conference rooms and outside on the veranda. For those who don't have their own laptop and can't get to sites they need through the computer lab, the library has laptops for in-house use.

"The new Wi-Fi service encourages further education through easy access to the entire information highway. It's a distinct advantage over the traditional Department of Defense networks which, through their security protocols, end up restricting some valuable educational and research materials," said Becky Sims, library director. "Because of our universities and colleges, whatever your research needs, if your laptop can handle it, we can deliver it."

"This effort is the first step in a long-range partnership with our civilian institutions to assist our total force and their families to facilitate education and life-long learning," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pearson, 55th Mission Support Squadron commander. Benefits include not only faster and better access to civilian educational institutions and news agencies, but also to professional military education programs and other Air University sites such as the Community College of the Air Force.

"We are very excited to be able to offer this service to all students and extremely fortunate to have such wonderful educational partners," said Ms. Sims.