Library Tech center marks year anniversary
The Collaborative Technology Center at Madelyn Helling Library has every new gadget a technophile’s heart could desire. Kindle Fires, iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and a 3-D printer are just some of the high-tech equipment being offered free of charge to patrons.
The tech center, which has been funded entirely with grants, celebrated its one-year anniversary Tuesday, inviting guests to partake in food and refreshments while touring the 2,000-square-foot facility.
“It’s been very popular,” said County Librarian Laura Pappani. “We thought it would be popular and it has exceeded our expectations. There’s a lot of interest in the free classes that we offer.”
Many of those free classes deal with using complicated software and hardware, like Skype and Microsoft Word, with some of the more popular seat-fillers focusing on teaching attendees on how to use PowerPoint, how to operate the 3-D printer, and how to check out eBooks online, Pappani said.
“It’s just trying to keep up with the demand. There are so many things that the community needs and we only have so many people to do it. So even with the help of volunteers we just can’t implement everything that we’d like to,” she said. “So that’s kind of been a bit frustrating. The person who manages the CTC is a library technician position. It started off as a half-time position and is now a full time position because it’s so popular. Full time is going to enable us to offer more.”
Even with the demand for courses, Pappani stressed that there are no headaches involved with using the center or signing up for classes.
“It’s not competitive at all. If someone wants to come use the Internet or check their email or take a class, they just need a library card, which is free. The first time they have to set it up at their desk, after that they are good to go,” she explained. “They just walk in and use our computer to reserve a computer and usually there’s no wait. It’s easy. The classes … fill up (sometimes), but there’s always another one if they do.”
There are also multiple resources for career building, such as workforce development classes and a Skype-enabled collaborative use room to host business meetings.
“It’s hard for us to get out the word. Every time I do a talk at a local organization, people are like, ‘I didn’t know the library had that,’” Pappani noted. “So whatever we can do to get people to know all the stuff that we provide here and that it’s free. (We have) the services the community really needs.”
Spencer Kellar is an intern with The Union. He can be reached at NCPCInternC@theunion.com.
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