September 21, 2004

Computing Center Celebrates 20 Years

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Mann Library’s John L. Stone Computing Center celebrates its 20th anniversary this week with a free daily raffle, giving students the opportunity to win a desktop computer. The computer, which will be raffled off Thursday, is only part of the center’s celebration, which also includes an interactive historical display, a book talk and free ice cream.

Organizers have planned the raffle with hopes of encouraging students to visit the Stone Center, Cornell’s first library-affiliated computing center. Free raffle tickets will continue to be distributed at the student operator’s desk in the Stone Center through Thursday.

Through this week’s festivities, Michael Cook, coordinator of public access computing at Mann Library, hopes students will realize that the Stone Center is “a friendly, welcoming environment, and a comfortable space, not a dark lab.”

“[The Stone Center] is a a place to do work, not just to use computers,” he said.

Eveline Ferretti, special projects assistant at Mann Library, has also helped Cook with the celebration.

She calls the anniversary an important milestone, because “[the Stone Center] broke new ground in terms of bringing library and computing services together. Twenty years ago, there were no public computers in the library and [the opening of the Stone Center] marked a huge change in how the library functions and is used.”

Ferretti feels that it is important for students to find out about the Stone Center, because it is a place that is “for students and run by students.”

Besides the computer, other items which will be given away during the celebration include a $25 VendaCard for black and white printing– which was raffled off yesterday –an external USB drive today and a $25 VendaCard for color poster printing tomorrow.

The historical display, “A Museum of Information- 20 Years of Public Computing at the Stone Center,” features a range of computers — many archaic by today’s standards — that have been used at the center in the past. The exhibit opened yesterday and will be on display through December.

Tomorrow at 3 p.m., the celebration continues as Polley McClure, vice-president for information technology, gives a book talk entitled, “Organizing and Managing Information Resources on Your Campus.”

A free ice cream social on Friday in front of the library will cap off the week’s festivities.

Opening in 1984, the Stone Computing Center currently houses about 100 computers, including 60 Dell PCs, five Macintosh OS X G5s, and 40 wireless laptops. The center also has three black and white scanners, one duplexing black and white printer, a color printer, two color plotters, and 14 scanners.

Archived article by Olivia Oran
Sun Contributor