Linwood — Linwood Community Library officials are showing residents around the library's new computer -- the only one in town available to the general public.
A group of Linwood students came face to face with Jesse James, explored ancient Egypt and listened to musical instruments from around the world on Thursday.
All it took was a trip to the Linwood Community Library, home of a multimedia computer that has given Linwood residents a technological window to a world of information.
Bruce Nelson, chairman of the library board, led the students through a basic training session on the CD-ROM system, installed last month. Afterward, the youths were given special library cards allowing them to check out and use the library's 11 CD-ROM programs, which display text, audio and video.
"What's that silver one?" said David Umbenhower, a Linwood eighth-grader, as Nelson perused a program of instruments.
"That's an electronic drum set," Nelson said, then clicked an icon producing a snippet of synthesized drum beats.
"That's awesome," David said. "I never saw those before."
Donna Caviness, Linwood librarian, said that although Linwood Elementary School provided computers for student use, the library's system was the only one in town available to the general public.
Funding came from benefit events, a grant from the Northeast Kansas Library Assn. and Sprint telecommunications.
"It's pretty good, because people who have not really done much with computers can hopefully come in and use it," Nelson said. "Hopefully, we can also lure some of our senior citizens, too, who may have never used a computer."
Residents who take the plunge have much to gain, Nelson said.
Along with an electronic encyclopedia, the library offers programs with movie reviews, anatomy lessons and a host of other subjects.
"One of my favorites is called 'Stowaway,'" he said. "It lets you wander around on this 18th century warship, and the people you meet talk to you. So the surgeon tells you what it's like to be a surgeon ... the guy swabbing the deck tells his story. It's neat."
The system dazzled students as they zoomed through the Temple of Mentuhotep in dynastic Egypt, listened to a xylophone-like Indonesian instrument called a gender and watched a Venus flytrap eat a frog.
"Go up," said Jacob Bateson, a fifth-grader, as another student electronically wound his way around an ancient Roman building. After being told the building had only one floor, he said:
"Twelve stories but no second floor. Go figure."