The Library continued working to become a hub where students can learn about technology. Major technology upgrades designed to help young children continued throughout our Library system in 2014.
AWE Early Literacy Stations were added at most of the branches for use by toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-age children through age eight. Additional SMART tables were introduced at the Main Library, Rockport and Woodland branches to serve as multi-touch interactive tools that engage young learners.
Cleveland Public Library became one of the first libraries in Northeast Ohio to have an Automated TechToyBox. The vending-type machines dispensing iPads and MyCloud laptops are located at the Main Library and at our Fleet and Lorain branches. Patrons can check out these devices for a three-hour period by swiping their library cards. Patrons without their own computers can conveniently store personalized information for future access thanks to the Library’s enhanced MyCloud service.
New phone charging stations at eight branches also allow patrons to charge their iPhones and android devices while they use other library services.
Our Maker Space officially opened at the Main Library in January 2014 to become one of only a handful in libraries across the country. Among other tools, the unique space offers a laser engraver, vinyl cutter, 3D printer and scanner, an audio/video recording and editing studio, and various musical instruments.
The nationally recognized Maker Space program is designed to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in a creative and collaborative space. Patron response has been overwhelming, creating almost constant demand for the printers, engravers and cutters. Knowledgeable Library staff members are available to provide training on all equipment.
The MakerLabs that were so popular in 2013 expanded significantly in 2014, reaching out to all 27 branches. Since the programs attracted more teens and children than originally envisioned, the Library adapted its programming, offering an array of hands-on workshops for creating 3D monsters, paper crafts, Lego robots, duct tape wallets and more.
Other programs taught basic computer skills. The MakerLabs strengthened critical thinking skills, which teachers have identified as necessary for career building.
The Library’s successful Mini Maker Faire was also expanded in 2014. Hosted in the spring, it attracted more than 4,000 attendees and featured 100+ presenters and workshops in our Main Library.
The program, which was created in 2013 to provide a hands-on learning opportunity, brings together "makers" who are willing to share their knowledge and teach others.