Significant computer issues brought a halt to many of the county’s operating systems, but the county’s computer system has finally been restored following the crash of the hard drive more than two months ago.
“The system has been restored and updated,” assistant county manager Susan Holder said during a meeting with Sampson County sheriff’s captain Eric Pope and Sampson County information technology director Chris Rayner. “We are systematically making components to that system available to the public.”
On Oct. 14, the county’s hard drive experienced a crash, and those significant computer issues lead to an inconvenience in some of Sampson’s departments. The library system was left unable to complete circulation transactions or offer access to public computers and Wi-Fi, resulting in the closing of all libraries in the county. As of Wednesday, all branches of the library system were open, with the exception of J.C. Holliday Library in Clinton, which is slated to open Monday.
“We have had our system rebuilt through the company who provides our parts,” Rayner said. “Now, all the data has to be put back into our system. Once the issue was identified, new equipment was purchased.”
Much of the county’s technology, according to Rayner, is aged and it took time to find the equipment and get it replaced.
The county, Holder said to Rayner’s point, will be looking into updating informational technology during budget discussions in February and are moving from a reactionary mode to a preparing and planning mode when it comes to technology.
While the issues were an inconvenience, Holder said, they did not stop the daily operations of the county and all its departments. Both the libraries and the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department were more significantly impacted from the computer problems.
Deputies and officers with the sheriff’s department were left resulting to an older method of reporting, handwriting all arrest reports, according to Pope.
“We we have been doing is a little less efficient, but our officers have worked hard to get the job done,” Pope said. “Someone may have had to wait a little longer for a copy of a report, but they have still been able to get them.”
The problem, according to Rayner, while the departments had access to the internet, the server was inoperable. Software that the sheriff’s department and libraries use has to be able to connect to the server to function. That lack of accessibility is what left the doors of the libraries closed for nearly a month and forced officers to turn back to old methods of record keeping.
“There is a lot of security information involved in our department and we have had to be careful not to let any of that stuff get out,” Pope said.
Rayner said the physical cost of the closes was minimal, but the inconvenience during this time was the major problem.
“At the end of the day, nobody missed a paycheck,” Rayner said. “The problem has been resolved and we have taken steps to mitigate this from happening again.”
All branches of the Sampson County Library system closed “for computer system repairs and the re‐cataloging associated with migrating to a hosted circulation system,” county officials announced last month. In addition to the library in Clinton, that included the Roseboro Public Library, Bryan Memorial Library in Newton Grove and Miriam B. Lamb Memorial Library in Garland.
Following the hard drive crash, Rayner said, the library attempted to remain open with limited services, but eventually had to rebuild its database from an older backup database. After consultation with library database consultants, that option was determined by Library and Information Technology staff to be the “quickest and most efficient solution to the library’s computer issues.”
The closes did, however, necessitate verifying inventory of all items in all branches and re‐inputting those records that are not in the older database, an arduous and time-consuming task — and the reason for the closures.
“The rainbow in all this is our staff has drawn closer together and developed a better appreciation for their co-worker does,” Holder said.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.