If you have visited or driven past the Erlanger Branch Library lately, you might be wondering what is being built. There are two projects. One is an administrative center to house Collection Development, Human Resources, Public Relations, Information Technology and the Business Office. The other is an addition to the current facility that will include a meeting room that can hold 450 people and a 1700 square-foot STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Education, Art and Math) Center, most commonly known as a maker space. Everything is expected to be completed by January, 2018.
The Digicart was a huge success. However, with that success came a demand for a more expansive selection of technology in the Digicart. The Digicart quickly became Digicarts as we expanded our services to include a VHS to DVD conversion service, record to CD conversion service, and a vinyl cutter. While the Digicart was mostly focused on STEM, we still wanted to be sure to include the arts and a love of reading. Thus, the STREAM Center began to take shape.
However, while we will soon have a large space to house all of our maker space materials, we still need to be mobile since we visit local schools. The current Digicart has visited over 1,000 students at five area schools. I see this as an important part of what we do here. We make these materials available to local school teachers because we realize their resources are limited. This allows teachers to give their students more thought provoking interactions in the classroom.
Visiting schools isn’t the only thing I do as an Emerging Technology Programmer though. I do normal library things like help patrons find books and movies. I also get to do a lot of other fun things in my position. I host several programs teaching digital literacy to patrons. These programs include anything from teaching seniors how to take full advantage of their smart phones, to showing teens how to create splatter paintings using robots. If you have ever dropped off a 3D print request, I was more likely than not the person printed it for you. I really do enjoy working with our patrons on 3D printing projects helping them bring something they have created to life. I also get to assist our patrons with any technology concerns they may have in our one-on-one technology appointments. I’ve helped folks learn about their new kindles or iPads, introduced them to Microsoft Office, and taught basic Internet safety. I also make visits to local schools to introduce students of all ages to various STEM related topics. I also get the distinct pleasure of trying to trouble shoot smaller IT issues that occur in our building so our dedicated IT staff can focus on other things.
We are excited to offer a Maker Camp this every Thursday this summer from June 1 to August 13. Children will learn how to use the tools in the Digicart and have fun creating their own designs. Watch our social media and website for more information.
You can find a listing of classes or schedule a one-on-one appointment by visiting our events website. Please say hello the next time you are in the Erlanger Branch.
Written by: Brandon Baldoni, the emerging technology programmer for the Kenton County Public Library, loves 3D printers, technology and teaching others.