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San Antonio Public Library Goes Digital!

2013 September 5
by Naomi Ditullio

Renovation dust has settled in San Antonio to reveal a beautiful transformation of the iconic downtown Central Library. A traditional, round reference desk and the small, out-dated bank of computers on the first floor have been replaced with Connect at Central (Connect).  This casual yet high-tech, lounge-style space will enhance the digital experience and improve customer service at the Central Library by reducing the wait time for public computers, providing easier access to training opportunities and educating the public about digital resources and services. The project was made possible by a variety of grants, including the federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) project managed by the Texas State Library, Technology, Expertise, Access and Learning for all Texans.

The all-new digital experience includes:

Connect at Central

Connect at Central- Technology Test Drive

    • Increased Wi-Fi capacity
    • More public computers to include a bank of 96 public desktop computers, as well as 15 laptops and 20 Google Nexus 7 tablets available for checkout within the Library
    • A “technology test drive” component with iPads and a variety of tablets that support digital literacy, educate about emerging technologies and showcase the Library’s digital collection of 36,000 items available for download and checkout

      Connect at Central- Public Computers

      Connect at Central- Public Computers

    • 18 new iMacs and furniture upgrades for the adjacent Teen Services Department
    • New furniture that enhances the casual lounge experience
    • Digital screens and signage for special showings
    • A new training center featuring 24 public desktop computers for instructor-led digital classes and library programs
    • Specialized service by reference staff

Additionally, Connect features four OverDrive Media Stations (OMS) in the “technology test drive” area that enable customers to browse, preview and checkout eBooks, digital audio books, music and video. One OMS is showcased on a ZIVELO kiosk with a 32” screen, a presentation with a sleek durable encasing that is ideal for high-traffic areas.  The other three stations are presented via interactive touch screens.

Opening as a part of Connect, is the new training center that will offer

Connect at Central- Training Center

Connect at Central- Training Center

specialized programs for the public on everything from resume building and job search assistance to computer skills and eReader help. The open design of the new classroom means that other customers browsing on the first floor and working on computers will be able to see and hear classes in action. And students will benefit from the comfortable, modern lounge near-by and plenty of computers to practice on when they leave class.

Connect at Central is buzzing with activity this month, and the library expects to expand training program offerings within the year.



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