Spencer board hopes WiFi at library will increase literacy

Published 2:07 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

By David Purtell


SPENCER — The Board of Aldermen voted to install wireless Internet in the town’s library to help promote literacy during the regular meeting Tuesday.

The unanimous vote came after Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Gobbel talked about the recent county-wide literacy summit that focused on the low literacy rates of third graders in Rowan County and how to solve the problem.

Part of the solution that was discussed at the summit is community involvement, Gobbel said, and Wi-Fi “hotspots” will give children a place to get online and read.

Using tablets is a big part of education these days, but for children whose parents don’t have Internet in their home, the hotspots would be a place they could go to get online, Gobbel said.

“As a board, we need to go forward and do something,” Gobbel said.

The town has money set aside in this year’s budget for installing wireless Internet at the library.

The board also unanimously voted to adopt the master plan for the Rowan County section of the Carolina Thread Trail.

The trail, when finished, would be 1,500 miles and connect 15 counties, four of which are in South Carolina. Bike trails, walking and hiking trails, and even waterways would be part of the trail.

The master plan has the trail coming from the Davidson County line over the Wil-Cox bridge and running down Salisbury Avenue where it splits and follows the Stanback Loop Trail. Another branch of the trail breaks off toward East Spencer.

Adopting the master plan doesn’t mean the town has to commit any funding toward the trail right now.

Several other communities in Rowan County have adopted similar resolutions. The master plan has 107 miles of trail in the county.

The project has been in the works for years, with the Catawba Lands Conservancy leading the way. Visit www.carolinathreadtrail.org to learn more.

In other business:

• The board rescheduled its next meeting for Monday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m.

• Police Chief Michael James assured the board that the double homicide on 5th Street Oct. 8 was not random. Alderman Reid Walters said he would like to see more foot patrols by police, and James said there will be more. Police statistics show there were four foot patrols in September.