Public Libraries: Going Beyond Just Books

Brooklyn Public Library offers unique programs and services for library visitors, all thanks to robust technology

Parents gather as children set up their LEGO robots in the competition ring. The task is simple: navigate the robot to help in several natural disaster situations. The first contender makes a few finishing touches, and the robot is off. It flawlessly makes its way through the scenario of delivering food to people who are stranded. The next teammate places their robot into the competition area, and it smoothly removes a fallen down tree from the middle of the road so cars can get by. All of the robots are impressive, and members of the Brooklyn Robotics Team cheer on their teammates as they continue to solve staged disastrous situations.

Scenes like the one above are all too common at one of Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) 59 branches across Brooklyn, NY. Serving 2.6 million residents, the libraries offer a vast variety of services and programs for library visitors beyond just checking out books. The Brooklyn Robotics League goes beyond just building cool robots — they teach kids ages nine to 14 how to code, work as a team, and practice core values. “Ask a Tech Day” provides drop-in technology services to patrons. Whether it’s a broken computer or a question about how to FaceTime, anyone can come by and get the technology help they need. At the central library, meeting rooms are available for people to conduct small business meetings, host DIY classes, or run community programs. Classes for all ages are available on topics including resume building, job readiness, basic computer and email skills, art, podcasting, and more.

The sense of community that the libraries provide would not be possible without the robust network and endpoint management system that BPL has built. Reliable Wi-Fi at every branch ensures that people can easily view entertainment, complete homework, and manage their businesses, on top of supporting the classes and programs the libraries offer. With a cloud-based endpoint management system, BPL is able to provide iPads, already configured with the applications and information they need, for library programs. Thanks to time saved from not having to manually configure iPads or be on-site to troubleshoot the network, the IT team and library staff can focus on providing the best services for library visitors.

This breadth of programs and technology resources was not always the reality at BPL. The IT team has worked diligently to turn a once consumer-grade, limited visibility network into a streamlined, cloud-managed technology solution that has allowed BPL to build the thriving community it has today. Watch the webinar recording to hear Rawle Jackman, Manager of Technology Services at BPL, explain why he chose Cisco Meraki as the network backbone for the library system, and how it has enabled them to provide new experiences for patrons. Watch it today!