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Tech gear coming to every library in Brooklyn, courtesy of Assembly

Xbox One, Laptops, LittleBits at your local branch

November 29, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Some of the technology to be distributed to Brooklyn libraries was on display at Tuesday’s press conference. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
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From iPads to laptops to Lego Robotics and Little Bits kits, every library in Brooklyn will be receiving an allotment of technology equipment, courtesy of a $3 million state grant secured by members of the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York State Assembly.

“Thanks to the Assembly’s investment in Brooklyn Public Library, our librarians will be able to host more technology programs for their patrons, and thousands of Brooklynites will have free use of equipment to which they might not have access at home or in school,” Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) President and CEO Linda Johnson told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference.

Johnson said the grant would allow BPL to establish a “baseline level” of technology at each of the branches.

“The $3 million dollars we received from the state Assembly [will] help put a suite of services in every branch library in Brooklyn,” Johnson told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The grant will bring electronic devices to people who currently have no access to them, said Assemblyman Joe Lentol, chair of the Brooklyn Delegation.

“It really brings kids who are growing up in the 21st century a chance to participate in it,” Lentol said. He added, “It’s a tribute to the leadership of Brooklyn Public Library — they’re the first ones doing this. The library ain’t just books anymore!”

“We all worked together to provide this funding from the state budget, and that doesn’t always happen,” Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon told the Eagle. “Brooklyn legislators all agree that the library plays a central role in our communities.”

She added, “That’s 60 branches where everybody will have a basic floor of technology … No matter where they are in Brooklyn, [children] will have the same access to this kind of skills and ability. It’s in this way that we will elevate all boats and we will make sure that our kids are prepared for the future.”

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon holds a box of LittleBits snap together electronic components. Photo by Mary Frost

Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz, Assemblymembers James Brennan, Helene Weinstein and Simon said they were pleased to be able to provide input into the specific equipment their local branches would receive.

“Our adults, families and children will immensely benefit through greater computer access,” Ortiz said.

BPL, with increased funding from the city, has expanded its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming and assigned at least one technology resource specialist to every branch.

The equipment to be received by each branch includes: video game consoles (Xbox, PS4, or Wii); portable PA systems; 5 iPad Airs 2; MacBook Pro; Windows Laptop; flat screen TV 50 – 55”; Lego Robotics kits and LittleBits kits.


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