Ilocos Norte’s e-library offers cheap cyber fee

LAOAG CITY, Feb. 13 (PIA) — Students will now enjoy low-cost internet services, with the new Information Hub (i-hub) that the provincial government re-opened recently.

I-hub is a multimedia library composed of 200 internet-ready computer units and paper-based reference materials (books and magazines). It is located at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, within the university belt.

The new library’s development is a part of the Sirib (knowledge) Mile project – the provincial government’s program to develop a creative and conducive learning environment for the youth through a learning hub that will be put up in key spots along the university belt.

For P7 an hour, students are now able to do research works for their assignments and projects on the World Wide Web. Average internet fee of computer shops in the province ranges from P15 to P20 per hour.

Unlike commercial internet shops, however, the e-library does not offer games that have been the magnet of internet users especially among students. All computer units do not have game software while web-based games have been disabled.

The e-library became an instant hit to students after its inauguration last February 8, said Mr. Donald Martin of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Library.

Martin said the i-hub is not limited to students only saying it is intended for the general public.

Students who buy a P50-worth of membership card is good for lifetime use. Non-members have to buy a pre-paid card costing P21 which is good for three hours.

The card contains a username and password to be used in accessing the internet.

“More than 12,000 students from the different schools within the university belt will be benefitted from this (i-hub),” said Jeanette Dials, head of the provincial government’s Education Department.

Dials believes that i-hub’s development including the Sirib Mile will be helpful in improving Ilocos Norte’s education system in the areas of participation rate and decrease in dropout rate among others.

High school student Mark Agcaoili said the e-library will go a long way to students like him.

“We will no longer spend a lot of money for computer rentals. We will now be able to save money to be used for other school requirements” he said.

The i-hub is open on weekdays from 8am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm. (Ariel Paolo A. Tejada)