FARMINGTON — By July, families of servicemen stationed abroad could see their loved ones via webcam at most branches of the Davis County Library.

During its meeting Tuesday, the library's board of directors voted to receive five webcams. One webcam will go to each branch with wireless Internet access, said library director Chris Sanford, adding that she expects the heaviest use of the laptops equipped with webcams will be in Clearfield, Layton and Syracuse because of those cities' proximity to Hill Air Force Base.

Branches in Bountiful and Centerville will also receive webcams.

"They offer an enhanced way for military personnel and loved ones to communicate with one another," Sanford said.

And to keep those communications private and personal, patrons who schedule a time to use the webcams will be able to use a branch study room, she said.

The library expects that peak times for webcam use will be between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., which is between 3:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in Baghdad.

Sanford planned to begin testing the webcams Tuesday among different branches.

The webcams have come to the library through the Veterans of Foreign Wars "Operation Keep in Touch."

Kraig Thorne, district four senior vice commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, started a program to deliver webcams to every library in Utah County and succeeded earlier this year, relying on donations from Mountain America Credit Union.

But to bring webcams to libraries in Weber and Davis counties, says Jennie Taylor, a North Ogden military wife who helped organize "Operation Keep in Touch," other donations were required.

After donations, a fundraiser and a 50 percent discount from Phillips, "Operation Keep in Touch" was able to buy 42 webcams to distribute to libraries.

"Having a webcam for the military is the only way to go," says Taylor, who lives in North Ogden with two children while husband Brent is stationed in Baghdad.

The Davis County Library hopes to make webcams available to families of servicemen stationed abroad by July, and Taylor said she expects to contact the Weber and Salt Lake county libraries, as well.

Contributing: Catherine Smith

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