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August 11, 2013
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Collaborative Technology Center at Madelyn Helling Library


A new technology center will be opening at the Madelyn Helling Library Tuesday with a bevy of technological improvements and work space.

The Collaborative Technology Center is a 2,000-square-foot, grant-funded project connected to the library at 980 Helling Way in Nevada City.

The center includes 15 computers, five iMacs, 20 Dell notebooks, 25 iPads, five Nook Colors, five Kindle Fires, five Samsung Galaxy Tab 2s and videography equipment, two Skype-enabled collaborative-use rooms, a 3-D printer and free volunteer-led classes to teach community members how to use the equipment.

A grand opening ceremony will take place 12:30 p.m. Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting, tours and demonstrations by volunteers and a speech from the board of supervisors and appearances by grant supporters.

“It’s just kind of a chance to touch on and demonstrate what we have so visitors can give it a whirl,” said Nevada County librarian Jessica Hudson.

Some of the topics for the classes will include how to use a computer, get an email address, format a Word document and search for jobs online, Hudson said.

Volunteer Jeff Spirer, who worked as a self-employed assistant designer and consultant for 30 years, will teach one of the classes on email.

“There is a need for some form of education for people who have to get on the Internet,” he said. “You don’t have a choice anymore.”

He said he appreciates this positive addition to the community.

“It’s awe-inspiring,” he said, “a very good effort.”

Visitors can check out videography equipment for two weeks. The 800-foot classroom can be reserved for workshops or study sessions, and because of the screen and Skype capabilities, visitors can even partake in cross-country job interviews.

The process began with grant applications in December 2012 for development funding from Assembly Bill 1600 and a $200,000 grant through CalWORKS, which provided a lot of the technological pieces, Hudson said, adding that construction began in mid-April.

CalWORKS became involved to provide an opportunity for people to access services when the One Stop office is closed, said CalWORKS program manager Pam Davinson.

“We wanted to have the opportunity for visitors to participate in classes and trainings and have a conference room set up if we wanted to have a workshop,” she said. “We can hold some of our classes over there to get people familiar with the resources, as well as get the rest of our clients involved in other activities.

“I just think it’s exciting,” she added. “The more resources we have that’s convenient for people to meet their needs. I just think it’s a great thing.”

Another component of the center is to educate the public not only on how to use technology but enjoy it.

“Part of what we’re doing with the workforce development portion of our class is digital literacy,” Hudson said, “how to use a keyboard and enjoy what you’re doing with technology, and not just viewing it as that thing I have to use to contact my family.”

The library is also available for use as a recreational resource, Hudson said.

“The library is a really cool spot where you can come and learn and gain knowledge but also a spot where you can find recreational entertainment options,” she said. “This is a way to expand on that in a technological way.”

The library has worked with the Gold Country Community Learning Center to offer computer classes, and this is allows for further expansion of services, Hudson said, adding, “I think between the Collaborative Technology Center and Gold Country Community Learning Center, we’re going to have a really nice umbrella of services.”

For information, contact the Madelyn Helling Library at 530-265-7050.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email jterman@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.


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The Union Updated Aug 12, 2013 11:07AM Published Aug 13, 2013 04:54PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.