Visitors to the Central Library have noticed that the San Antonio Public Library has recently initiated some major renovations and created a new technology space on the first floor, which opened in late August.
Connect at Central (Connect) is an all-new, 12,800 square foot digital experience made possible by a Federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant. The $1.5 million grant project enabled the San Antonio Public Library to make technology and broadband enhancement projects possible at 13 branch libraries and the Central Library.
The goal for Connect is to enhance the digital experience at the Central Library and improve customer service by reducing the wait time for public computers, provide easier access to training opportunities, and educate the public about digital resources and services. The all-new digital experience includes:
- Increased Wi-Fi capacity
- More public computers to include a bank of 80 public desktop computers and 15 laptops and 20 Google Nexus 7 tablets available for checkout within the Library
- An additional 24 public desktop computers to be used for instructor-led digital classes and library programs
- 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 35,000 items available for download and checkout
- 18 new iMacs and furniture upgrades for the adjacent Teen Services Department
- A full remodel into a lounge-style space
- New furniture that further enhances the casual lounge experience
- Digital screens and signage for special showings
- Specialized service by reference staff
Additionally, Connect features four OverDrive Media Stations (OMS) that allow patrons to browse, preview and checkout eBooks, digital audio books, music and video. One OMS will be presented via a kiosk with a 32" screen, currently the only one of its kind. ZIVELO, the company that makes the kiosks, has partnered with OverDrive to offer this exclusive product to the Central Library. The other three stations will be presented via interactive touch screens. Connect also offers improved Wi-Fi service to patrons.
Opened as a part of Connect, a new training center offers specialized public training programs on everything from resume building and job search assistance to computer skills education and eReader training. Two classes will be offered each week. Training tracks are Library Resource Showcase, 21st Century Skills, Back 2 Basics and eReader U.
More information about training classes can be found at mysapl.org.