National Library Week: Nevada County Library’s Collaborative Technology Center a unique community resource |

National Library Week: Nevada County Library’s Collaborative Technology Center a unique community resource

Participants of all ages attended an “Hour of Code” program organized by Vaile Fujikawa at the Madelyn Helling Library's Collaborative Technology Center earlier this year. The CTC is part computer lab, part classroom, and part maker space.
Submitted photo |

For thousands of years, libraries have been home to society’s most valuable resource, information.

In the past couple of thousand years, the way we access the information we seek has evolved from clay tablets to bound monographs (you probably know them as books). Civilization has experienced plenty of growing pains as it developed the technologies that make access to information widespread and available to the masses.

Libraries have been leading the way in technological advancements for decades. It is hard to imagine, but the online public access catalog (OPAC, or simply library catalog) was developed in the 1960s, and through the ’70s and ’80s began to make its way into libraries across the country.

There was a lot of heel dragging in adopting this new technology, as it took a massive amount of work to teach a new system to not only the public, but also the staff.

This all seems a bit unbelievable in this day and age, when libraries all over the world offer public access to information via this ubiquitous technology that once took up a whole room, but now fits into a pocket: the computer.

Indeed, it is this technology that allows the library to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – all the better to serve our patrons.

The digital services of the Nevada County Library, which are listed on our website as eServices & Databases, are never closed.

Aside from expanding upon the traditional services you might expect from a library website (catalog access, eBooks, audiobooks, periodicals, and databases), we also offer access to many resources for improving computer skills (including self-paced, online classes), job hunting skills, foreign language skills and more!

While all of our libraries offer a selection of services, the Madelyn Helling Branch is home to a particularly special community resource: the Collaborative Technology Center (CTC).

The CTC is part-computer lab, part-classroom, and part-maker space. On any given day in the CTC you are likely to find members of the public using our computers, students or business people using our private study rooms for meetings or quiet cram sessions, and small class sessions on anything from using spreadsheets to how to use one of our 3-D printers.

As previously mentioned, libraries have been providing access to information for thousands of years. Society’s current need for information may look a little different than it has in decades past, but the function of the library remains the same. We are here to put you in touch with what you need. For some patrons this may be directing you to your favorite author, and for others it might be an introductory computer class.

It is our hope that the library is the first place you think of to find information on new technology. If you haven’t visited your local library lately, come and see how we have changed!

Vaile Fujikawa is the Collaborative Technology Center Manager at Madelyn Helling Library. Visit for more information on the CTC and Nevada County libraries.

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