Two short months ago the California Genealogical Society learned about an incredible price on computers from Charity Advantage, an association that offers technology solutions at low cost to non-profits. An e-mail plea went out to CGS members and friends asking for donations to purchase replacements for the society's fleet of well-used computers.
Four weeks ago ten refurbished Pentium 4 - 80GB Dell desktop computers were delivered after twenty CGS members came forward to contribute to their purchase. Two additional members pitched in to buy a new laser printer.
This week eight dedicated volunteers spent an exhausting but fruitful thirteen-hour day installing the new hardware.
Steve Harris, Peter Moller, Cathy Paris, Nick Paris and Nancy Servin met Computer Committee members Al Clark, Paul Mayer and Kathy Watson at the library at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2009. The group started by reviewing an installation plan prepared by Peter Moller.
By 10:30 a.m. sleeves were rolled up and the serious work began. Kathy Watson reported "There were a few glitches, but essentially by 10:00 p.m. the work was finished. Any leftover clean up items were completed on Tuesday."
So far, the reviews are positive. Kathy notes that these computers are a significant improvement over our old hardware, almost doubling the speed (from 1.83 GHz to 3.2 GHz) and doubling the memory available for using the programs loaded on the machines (from 448 mb RAM to 1 GB RAM). She also wanted me to thank everyone who participated to make the computer replacement project a huge success.
CGS President Jane Lindsey echoed her gratitude:
We are so appreciative! These computers will not only help patrons and members in the library but also our volunteer researchers, our indexers and our desk duty personnel. Faster computers will also help the hardworking members of our finance, library and membership committees do a better job for CGS.
So what is the message to other societies? Aim high and don't be afraid to ask. In the midst of a tough economic downturn the members of the California Genealogical Society and Library came together and accomplished something fairly remarkable in a short period of time. It's a testament to our members and our volunteers. Great work, CGS!
Photographs courtesy of Cathy H. Paris, 3/20/2009, Oakland, California.