Hudson Library - Creating an Intelligent Community
As a community leader, the Hudson Library & Historical Society promotes digital equality by introducing, educating, and empowering the community through the latest technological advancements. Learn about the multitude of programs and opportunities the Library provides for its patrons and citizens of Hudson.
"Congratulations to the City of Hudson on its remarkable achievement of being selected as a Top7 Intelligent Community of 2019! Hudson Library & Historical Society shares in the City's vision of fostering effective collaborations which will facilitate learning and knowledge to enhance our community's quality of life. As Hudson's Center for Lifelong Learning, we strive to connect our community to resources on the local, regional, national, and international level. We work to bridge the digital divide by providing our community with free internet, online databases, video and audio production capabilities, cutting edge technology, and ongoing technology training. At the Hudson Library, we engage our entire community in the journey of lifelong learning."
-Leslie Polott, Executive Director of Hudson Library & Historical Society
Hudson Library & Historical Society Promotes Digital Equality Through Its Services
For the Hudson Library & Historical Society, 2017 was an exceptional year. It saw unprecedented levels of customer usage measured by 1,078,296 items borrowed, 122,657 digital downloads and 56,298 patrons attending over 1,727 programs. The Library, recognized as one of the best libraries in the nation, was awarded the Five-Star ranking by Library Journal for a 5th time in 2017. As a community leader, the Library promotes digital equality by introducing, educating and empowering the community through the latest technological advancements.
“In these unsettled times, our community has turned to the Library more than ever before. Our open doors welcome all, providing a wealth of free resources, services and enrichment programming to help our customers succeed. We serve as a venue for people to come together to meet, to share ideas, and to learn from one another,” said Leslie Polott, Executive Director of the Hudson Library & Historical Society.
The Hudson Library fosters digital inclusion by providing free broadband internet service within its facility. In addition, the Library has five hotspots available with unlimited data that borrowers can check out for up to one week to access the internet anywhere. The popularity of this program has created the need for a waitlist for the devices.
In addition to the more than 245 computers and laptops used 152,476 times in 2017, the Library also offers internet-enabled devices, such as iPads, that are preloaded with material for children; e-readers loaded with more than 200 current best sellers; Roku streaming media players with Netflix and Hulu subscriptions; and internet-based laptops powered by Google Chrome.
Technology is not effective without the appropriate skills to use it. Library technology and training goes a long way in providing access to the internet. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “patrons must have access to computers and interest in using them before they can develop technology skills. Libraries provide the ideal environment for this mix. Library computers attract a self-selecting stream of ‘interested’ users, in a setting that is conducive to learning and asking for help. Librarians who provide either formal or informal assistance at that moment of interest provide the necessary context for the training to be meaningful and lasting. The result is that beyond just providing simple access, libraries are effectively helping people bridge the digital divide.”
The Hudson Library & Historical Society has embraced this way of thinking by offering various training and learning opportunities for the many different community members who visit the Library.
The Library provides free, one-hour, one-on-one technology tutoring sessions to all library patrons. In 2017, library staff provided 112 adult tech tutoring sessions. The community is used to seeing the library as a resource for help and questions, which is shown by the fact that the Library answered 237,534 questions in 2017. The staff at the Library has the benefit of being able to tailor their teaching of basic computer skills to the individual patron’s needs. This has tremendous impact on the digital divide in that not only is the patron provided with access and training, but they are motivated to learn by their own search for information.
Older adults benefit from training on investment and retirement planning, social security and Medicare information, as well as health and medical information. The ability to keep in touch with family and friends through email and social media can also be a great motivator to explore the internet.
The Library can also be a vital resource for a patron engaged in job searching to polish a resume, research employment opportunities, and complete online applications.
The Library offers a wide variety of courses that include Microsoft products, Windows, Mac, Google apps, social media, web-based programs, basic computer skills, and internet skills. The Library’s Adult Services Department provides an adaptive technology station ideally suited for computer users with low vision. The MAGic software features computer screen magnification, speech features, as well as mouse, cursor, and color enhancements to change the screen display.
In addition to classes, the Library offers 3D printing services in support of its mission to provide access to new and emerging technologies. The Library’s Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer is available for patrons to make three-dimensional objects in PLA (polylactic acid) plastic using a design that is uploaded from a digital computer file.
Through the Library, Youth are given the opportunity to use technology in a social setting. Twenty young children per month participate in Minecraft Club where they can play on the multiplayer Minecraft server. 3D Print Club offers children in grades 2-5 the opportunity to create and print 3D objects using Tinkercad, a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. Teens can participate in Fortnite Fridays, a new program offered by the Hudson Library where it opens up computers and Playstation 4 consoles for multiplayer use for two hours after school on Fridays. Eighty students participated in the first month. Teens are also given the opportunity to provide co-creative input on the Teen Library Council.
The Library is also a partner in Global Entrepreneurship Week and hosted the sixth annual “Pitch Night” on November 13, 2018. This night gave seven finalists, chosen out of 50 entries, the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to expert judges in front of an audience. The first-place winner presented a software platform called Augmented Therapy. The idea, combining tele-rehabilitation and augmented reality experiences to improve pediatric physical therapy, received a $3,000 cash prize. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, a local foundation that champions the entrepreneurial spirit and serves as a leader in the field of entrepreneurship education, sponsored the prize money for Pitch Night.
In addition to sponsoring Pitch Night, the Burton D. Morgan Foundation sponsors the Morgan Entrepreneurship Center at the Hudson Library & Historical Society. The Center was founded in 2008 with the mission of being a premier public resource for the advancement of entrepreneurial learning, provides an entrepreneurial business research collection, ongoing lectures and workshops, technological support, one-on-one business counseling, and business mentoring opportunities. A generous grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation provides the opportunity for lifelong learning through subscription access to thousands of online business technology and creative skills courses through Lynda.com, a well-known learning platform that provides Hudson Library cardholders with 24-hour access to over 3,000 courses with certification in business, design, web, photography, marketing, and technology.
As an infrastructure for the entire community, the Hudson Library & Historical Society exemplifies the concept of staying connected to our past while building for our future. The Library maintains an extensive collection of genealogy and local history, while also providing cutting-edge technology and resources to more than 26,000 registered borrowers. The Digital Family History Center is equipped with the latest technology for digitizing family history. Library staff assisted 136 patrons with the technology available to make digital copies of family memories stored on a variety of mediums since November 2014.
The Library has continued to reinvent itself to meet the changing needs and expectations of its customers. “The world is rapidly changing, and the Hudson Library will continue to innovate and evolve in order to position itself to meet and exceed expectations,” said Polott.