The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Mar 04, 2011

Touchscreen technology helps local library become digital information center

Posted by Andries Vaisman

As Head of Children's Services at Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Lydia Gamble is deeply involved in connecting her library with the residents of Akron, Ohio. Recently, she has gained attention for helping to inspire a new generation of library visitors by teaching digital literacy using touch-screen computer technology.

The new computers and classes benefiting children and adults alike have been made possible with support from Knight Foundation's Library Initiative.

Gamble spoke with us about her experience using the new tools.

"The touch-screens are very intuitive and therefore easy for the youngest child to use," Gamble said. "Children are using them from a very young age to learn to read and play and explore."

"Special needs children have also responded very well to the technology," Gamble added.  "We have quite a few special needs patrons, and I am thrilled to be able to provide a special story time for them in which I can utilize the touch-screen technology."

Of course, access to the computers isn't just limited to story time.  The classes are attracting a wide range of residents including seniors and the recently unemployed who are brushing up on their workplace skills.

Take a look at this video to see what we mean.

At Knight's Library Conference earlier this week, leaders in the field of information technology agreed that one of the best ways to maintain libraries' crucial role in the community is to provide a variety of digital services to a diverse range of people. Stow-Munroe Falls' programming is just one example of how libraries can transform themselves into interactive centers for digital information.

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