Computers in Meetinghouse Libraries

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drepouille
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Computers in Meetinghouse Libraries

Postby drepouille » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:11 pm

Every time a unit asks me this question, the answer has been no. How should I answer this question from one of the units in my stake?

"Do you have an old Church computer that we can put in the Branch Library? I would like to use it with a word & excel program to keep track of the inventory & I have seen an excel spreadsheet that can be used to gather material ahead of time to aid the teachers. I think that the printer (copier) in the library can be hooked up to a computer. If I remember right, there is a USB port for a thumb drive also. Maybe the teachers can prepare their lessons at home & then print off something at the Church if need be. Does the Church have any laptop units?"

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:22 pm

1) Old computers? What's that? We've been required to turn in our old MLS units to the FM Group for disposal.
2) How do you plan on getting a legal, church owned copy of MS Office? What budget is going to pay for it?
3) I don't know about your stake, but ours doesn't own any laptops.
4) Last I checked, computers were not officially supported in libraries. I wouldn't say prohibited, just nothing to support having them.
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jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:15 pm

There are two ways I know to get a computer into the meetinghouse material center. The first is for someone to donate it. The problem with that approach is that this donation cannot be solicited. Also there is the issue of support. Where is it going to come from? Not from the Church since there is no program or policies in place to provide the support. The second is for the stake or a ward to purchase one. Good luck with that! Budgets are too precious for planned programs to be diverted to support such an expense. Then there is the support issue again. Who is going to pay for the support?
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drepouille
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Postby drepouille » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:10 pm

This was my answer:
[color=navy][font=Arial]I believe the answers are no, no, and no.[/color][/font]
[color=navy][font=Arial][/color][/font]
[color=navy][font=Arial]Since 1987, I have had several units ask me if they could have a computer in the meetinghouse library, and every time I have looked at the church policies and procedures, the answer has been no.[/color][/font]
[color=navy][font=Arial][/color][/font]
[color=navy][font=Arial]We are not allowed to keep old computers in the meetinghouses. We are not allowed to leave privately owned computers in the meetinghouses overnight. We are generally not allowed to purchase Microsoft Office with budget funds, because OpenOffice is available for free. As far as I know, and unless procedures have changed, we are only allowed to install computers in clerks offices and family history centers.[/color][/font]
[color=navy][font=Arial][/color][/font]

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:23 pm

drepouille wrote:As far as I know, and unless procedures have changed, we are only allowed to install computers in clerks offices and family history centers.
I know this was a response you were giving to a stake member. But were is that policy? I have never found any Church policy that only allowed computers in clerk offices and family history centers. Granted, those are the computers the Church provides. But there is no limitation of use of other computers within Church units that I can find beyond administrative computers and FHC computers. The policies covering those uses do not carry over to other uses of computers in Church units.

The policies in the 18 Aug 2009 Policies and Guidelines for Computers Used by Clerks for Church Record Keeping address the source and use of computers for administrative purposes. There is no reference in the Handbooks limiting computers for other uses. Any policies of that nature would have to be local.

You may be thinking of the section in the 18 Aug 2009 policy letter referenced above that states
Donated Computers

Wards and stakes may not accept or use donated
computers for Church record keeping.
This limitation is only for record keeping, which for practically all units in the U.S. are computers using MLS. The materials center would not be keeping Church records.

Section 21.1.11 of Handbook 2 addresses administrative computers only.

Perhaps I am missing some other policy document or letter.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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JeffTurgeon
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Postby JeffTurgeon » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:34 pm

Interesting response about the software, our Clerk's office has has Microsoft Office installed on it for as long as I can remember. I think we have the XP enterprise office suit on it currently. The software is owned by the ward and the original box and CDs are in the clerk's closet in case we replace the machine so we can install it on the next one.

We use it to create the Sunday programs, Baptismal programs, Funeral programs, ect.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:53 am

JeffTurgeon wrote:Interesting response about the software, our Clerk's office has has Microsoft Office installed on it for as long as I can remember. I think we have the XP enterprise office suit on it currently. The software is owned by the ward and the original box and CDs are in the clerk's closet in case we replace the machine so we can install it on the next one.

We use it to create the Sunday programs, Baptismal programs, Funeral programs, ect.

Let's not steer this discussion too far off topic. It was not uncommon 10 years ago for wards to invest in "Office" style software. OpenOffice.org (or StarOffice) was in its infancy, and frankly, was not a very good product yet (IMO). Today, there are free alternatives that, for the most part, do the jobs you described quite well. Purchasing software is still an option, if the stake president deems it necessary, but I would think units would at least try out the available free office software first.

Back on topic, I don't see the harm in a library notebook PC, as long as they had control over it not growing legs and walking off. With wireless going into meetinghouses, it could even double as a media player for instructors, training, or even meetinghouse webcasts. I know in our building, the small LCD TV they have on a cart has a VGA input making it simple to connect to a PC.
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