With the exponentially-growing dependence we have on technology solutions to everyday problems, The Yonkers Public Library proves to be an invaluable resource for residents of all ages to learn, explore, and enjoy the latest and most essential tech tools around.
The need for dedicated tech help became evident many years ago. Library patrons would often visit for simple help fixing their computers, resetting lost passwords, or even just basic training on internet use. But, every year the services across all three Yonkers Public Library branches have expanded to offer more and more to an eager public. So, the aptly named, “Tech Central” is the hub of the YPL’s outreach to those wanting to improve their understanding of everything from Microsoft Office software to 3D printing hardware. It’s free and open to the public for enrollment in classes, use of equipment, and even to host school field trips.
A place to learn
At the core of Tech Central are the “Drop In’s” and dedicated introductory courses.
Tech Drop In’s are one hour open sessions to ask about anything tech-related. Both staff and volunteers are there to help you with just about any problem. It’s a judgement-free space to ask the questions you can’t find the answers to or were always afraid to ask.
Additionally, the library offers structured introductory courses on usage for common apps. These include programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. There are even classes in Spanish like Gmail en Español.
Days and times for these sessions vary by location. But the schedule for these events are all viewable on the new YPL website’s calendar by clicking here.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for visiting the library in-person, or you want to get deeper into other topics, YPL still has you covered. Partnering with learning company GALE, those with a YPL library card can register for over 300 professional instructor-led online courses. From programming languages to sign language, there’s something for everyone throughout these curricula.
With public schools on summer vacation, YPL hosts specialized STEM courses for students aged 7-12. Sponsored by the Westchester Board of Legislators and partnering with local education provider, iCAMP, these hands-on courses in topics like robotics and digital animation open entirely new worlds to growing minds. These Summer STEM Camps fill up fast, so make sure you register as soon as possible.
A place to create
In additional to classroom-style training, the library is full of great free-to-use equipment as well. Large format printers, 3D printers, and a green screen video recording studio are all available upon request. Furthermore, highly-skilled staff like YPL Technology Instructional Supervisor Christine Bitetti are there to even teach you how to properly use the equipment.
For example, the two state-of-the-art 3D printers at the Riverfront Library can create almost anything you can imagine. Courses are offered in both the design and manufacturing of 3D printed plastic objects. Or, you can even email the print-ready files to [email protected] and they will print them for you!
Another cool space is the media room. This operates as its own recording studio complete with a wall to wall green screen. You can book up to two hours at a time here to record custom videos on their professional-grade camera–making it a great place to create your very own podcast or Youtube video. There are even some musical instruments available to jazz up your production.
A place to have fun
Library visitors can also experience a wide array of fun learning activities with the latest in Virtual Reality tech. In addition to the popular Oculus Quest headsets, there are also dedicated VR devices specifically for learning. Using ClassVR programs, you can engage in immersive experiences like exploring cellular biology or visiting ancient historical ruins. All of these experiences come with full accompanying lesson plans to assist in the learning process. And YPL staff can even save students a trip to the library by bringing all of the equipment directly to a school’s classroom!
With so much to learn and do at the Yonkers Public Library, even the most novice users can become techies in no time. And with no cost for entry, these classes, dedicated spaces, and state-of-the-art tools are the best place in the city to get started–continue–your high-tech journey.
If you are interested in any of the programs, equipment or training the YPL’s Tech Central has to offer, simply visit their website by clicking here.