Free internet access for 802 members became available at Local 802 in July, when a computer on the third floor was dedicated to the use of members in good standing. And as the word got out over the summer, several members became steady users.
The computer is located in the Recording Vice-President’s department, next to the windows at the front of the building. While appointments may eventually become necessary, members are now able to use the computer on a drop-in basis, checking in with staff member Angela Singh.
Among the most regular users is Joseph Diamond, a pianist, keyboard and electric bass player who joined Local 802 a year ago. He comes in almost daily to check his e-mail, write letters, and check on visitors to the web site (www.josephdiamond.com) he established as part of an effort to sell his CD, “Not Your Typical New Yorker.”.
“I got into using computers through the library, after I found out that you could get free e-mail that way,” Diamond told Allegro. “I wouldn’t say I’m a technical whiz, but I do my e-mail, I do some word processing, and I can check on my web site. I don’t have a computer at this point, so it’s been very helpful to be able to come up here.
Members are using the computer to keep in touch via e-mail, write letters and resumes (the system includes a good quality laser printer) and explore the vast resources of the World Wide Web. Fran Kayne, who maintains Local 802’s computer network, explained the potential. “Members can use it to find music venues, musicians, old friends and associates, information about the cities in which they’ll be playing or vacationing, or anything else they might need,” she told Allegro. “They can also set up an e-mail account – with Hot Mail, Yahoo, or any other free e-mail service.”
Angela Singh said that most members who have come in to use the equipment seem very comfortable with it. “Nobody has needed help,” she said, “and they all seem very happy that we are providing this service.”