Transparent Language Library Spotlight: Albert Wisner Public Library Posted by Transparent Language on Mar 16, 2016 in For Libraries, Library Success Stories
“A few years ago we heard how technology would make libraries obsolete. We have turned that on its head. Libraries have become the gateway to get access to technology. It has made libraries more necessary.”
– Albert Wisner Public Library director Rosemary Cooper in an interview with Library Journal
There’s a common misconception in America that libraries are nothing more than a retirement home for—gasp!—print materials. It’s time to close the book on that lie. Digital marketer Frankie Rendon says it best: “[libraries] are no longer a house of dusty books and card files; they are centers of creativity, research and collaboration…and they are free.”
That last point, while convenient for many, is crucial for the 55 million Americans who do not have broadband Internet access at home. In an age where you can hardly apply for a job without email and an Internet connection, libraries have become a digital haven for students, low-income families, and the elderly. But printed materials and Internet access are just a small stack of what libraries have to offer.
Libraries also provide special collections to meet community needs. At Albert Wisner Public Library (AWPL) in Warwick, New York, they offer a wealth of e-resources, including learning materials in 100+ languages through Transparent Language Online. In early 2016, AWPL was recognized with Library Journal’s Best Small Library in America award. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the award honors exceptional libraries serving populations of 25,000 people or smaller – a well-deserved distinction for a library that serves a community of roughly 23,000 loyal patrons.
The library believes in tech for all, providing free Wi-Fi, desktops and laptops, and free access to online databases that deliver learning materials for languages, office skills, crafts and hobbies, pet and animal care, test prep, and much more. Patrons aren’t left to their own devices (pun so very intended). From one-on-one instruction to group classes and public workshops, tech-related topics are always a hit for the wide array of audiences, from senior citizens looking to bridge the digital divide to passionate coders looking to improve their skills. And the available groups don’t stop there – Teen Tech Tutors are available to answer questions, the Coding & Gaming club meets regularly, and the entire community can benefit from classes like Intermediate Excel. (And that’s just what’s happening in the next week!)
We tip our hats to you, AWPL, for being a role model for how today’s libraries are transforming to meet the needs of everyone in the community. For librarians looking to increase public awareness of their value and services, we highly recommend the Libraries Transform Toolkit. And for curious citizens looking to expand their minds—through languages, coding, and beyond—we can’t encourage you enough: visit your local library!
Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.