Crown Heights

BPL celebrates anniversary of new tech center

`Information Commons’ offers 25 desktops, space for 70 laptops

January 15, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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This month, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of its multifunctional, innovative technology center, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons.

Located in BPL’s Central Library at Grand Army Plaza, the Information Commons offers a 5,500-square-foot space boasting seating and outlets for 70 laptop users, 25 public desktop computers (including Macs and PCs), meeting rooms, educational training programs and a recording studio outfitted with a computer editing station and DSLR camera.  

Designed with the intention of serving the community at large and accommodating a wide range of demands, the Information Commons provides specialized resources to support students, researchers, professionals, entrepreneurs and job-seekers.

When the project was launched, BPL announced that public meeting rooms would be available to facilitate collaborative thinking. Equipped with electronic whiteboards and flat-screen monitors for multimedia presentations, webinars and video conferences, the seven meeting rooms have been reserved 4,600 times by BPL cardholders, resulting in 7,950 hours of use by the public.

“In its first year of operation, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons has become one of Brooklyn Public Library’s busiest spaces. Our goal was to create a collaborative, flexible and inviting space so it is incredibly rewarding to see how well it has been embraced by the community,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library.

The Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons offers an array of educational, training and software services. The 25 desktop computers are configured with sophisticated software programs including the Adobe Creative Suite, Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro X,among others. The Information Commons also features a learning lab.
A range of classes, events, services and workshops has been offered in collaboration with over two dozen organizations, including BRIC | Arts | Media | Bklyn, SCORE, NY Writers Coalition, the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, Callen-Lorde Health Clinic and Coderdojo NYC. Some of the programs currently offered are Introduction to Digital Photography, Resume Writing Basics, a monthly genealogy workshop, “office hours” for Microsoft Excel for business needs and a weekly Teen Tech Time.

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