In 1998, PSE&G began to replace large quantities of computers, and the company decided to donate them instead of throwing them away.
"It was easily the right way to go," said Richard Dwyer, Public Affairs manager for PSE&G.
Dwyer added, "The computer donation program enables PSE&G to have a positive impact on the lives of many people in the communities that PSE&G services, and PSE&G gets to do the environmentally responsible thing by extending the life of its equipment."
The New Jersey-based company with facilities in Secaucus offers a computer donation program for nonprofit schools and community-based organizations. The initiative helps to expand technology education for children and adults. The program has provided computer equipment and monetary donations to urban schools and community organizations so young people can develop technology skills.
In the past it has involved partnerships with Microsoft, which donated the software, and AT&T, which trained teachers. Throughout New Jersey, the company has also conducted mentoring and tutoring programs in partnership with nonprofit organizations. PSE&G has on-site, school-based and e-mail mentoring and tutoring programs.
Available computers include 386, 486, Pentium and laptop models. The library has been seeking laptop computers in order to offer them as loans, just the way the library loans books.
"Technology donations put important tools in the hands of local agencies so they can invest in other social service and educational programming," Dwyer said. "And young people and adults who may not otherwise have the opportunity can improve their knowledge of computers and their understanding of this technology-driven world."
Library Director Katherine Steffens noted that "advocacy is the process of turning passive support into educated action, and PSE&G has been in the forefront of advocacy for the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center from the beginning."
Steffens said libraries are central to the democratic process. "We must position libraries so they are the central entity for providing access to the full spectrum of information, ideas, knowledge, programs and services that support individual learning and intellectual growth."
She said individual learning leads ultimately to the future well-being of the nation, and she called access to knowledge "an entitlement."
"By collaborating with the library and providing laptops to students and patrons for their personal use, a constant mainline to their library is guaranteed," Steffens said. "Lifelong learning opportunities will be enhanced for all community members and expanded education will support students' independent learning."