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Area Libraries Embrace Digital Technology

The Falconer Library has begun a puzzle exchange. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

The local public library is more than just shelves containing books and magazines.

Like so many other things, it too has gone digital. The library is a place of learning online or not, and it’s an important fixture in the community as well.

“Well, primarily, I think it has made libraries an even more important fixture in communities, especially in areas like Jamestown, where we do see high poverty, and people struggling with low income,” said Prendergast Library Manager Tress Williams. “They might not have access to the internet at home. They might have devices. They might have a cell phone, but they might not be able to use that at their home. So we (the library) provide a really crucial service in that way. Patrons use the computer lab and just the the Wi Fi.”

At both the Prendergast Library, 509 Cherry St., and the Falconer Public library, 101 W. Main St., patrons can enjoy printed books as well as digital ebooks, as well as other amenities.

Williams said the ebooks and audiobooks are free to use, but suggests that patrons go to the Prendergast Library first to set up the Libby application which is a part of the OverDrive application in the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System. Checkout time for ebooks is three weeks, the same as a printed book, and the system automatically returns them. Williams noted that there can be a wait time for ebooks because there are only few copies. The program will alert patrons if there is a wait period or if the book is available right away. The process is the same at the Falconer Public Library.

Both libraries offer online resources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, Rosetta Stone language software, free acess to scholary databases, and access to geneology programs.

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“We have the computer lab, which has access to not only the computers, but also the scanner and copier. We also have the fax (machine). And that is of course a service that we have to charge for,” Willimas added.

Williams said the computers are also used for schoolwork as well.

“And especially downstairs, we actually have two new education stations, thanks to a grant from Carnahan, Jackson (Foundation). And those are larger screens, so kids can engage even if they’re not comfortable yet using a mouse or a keyboard. And the whole children’s computer lab is outfitted with kids keyboards, which are larger and color coded and kids-sized mice, because little fingers can always click right (to) full size mice.”

She said the foot traffic is a nice balance between children and adults.

“We really see all ages. You know, they I think that different ages come primarily for different elements. The really young kids, you know, five and under are primarily coming for their parents storytimes even just to play in the children’s room, a lot of learning-based play opportunities. Same thing with the MakerSpace, we have programs and specifically at about six and under, so that’s what the little ones are primarily coming for. But once I get into elementary, especially middle school, high school age and adults, especially for the teens, the primary thing they like to come in for is the computers and that opportunity to socialize.” she added.

Williams noted that the Prendergast Library has been expanding its teen programming, and its expanded its Minecraft Club to two days a week, Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“That’s the only program we have that we really recommend calling and registering for because we only have so many Minecraft licenses and computers. It does fill up. So everything else we say just show up, we’ll be happy to see you,” Williams added.

Prendergast Library Outreach and Program Manager Jenn Champ said the library is able to do one-on-one tech appointments, but patrons need to call the library and set up appointments.

At Falconer Public Library, puzzles have become very popular, and according to Library Manager Laurie Becker, a puzzle exchange has been started. Puzzles can be found in the back room, Becker said.

“We do a puzzle exchange. Ours aren’t barcoded. I think some libraries, maybe barcoding theirs … so it just it’s constantly changing back there. But that’s been a big thing,” Becker said.

Becker noted that the Falconer Library has received a donation of Legos from the Eskeli Family in memory of their son Billy who died in a car accident in 2019. His finished works of Legos are on on display in the MakerSpace place at the Falconer Library.

A telehealth bundle, Becker said, is available at the Falconer Library as well. the bundle includes a laptop computer, a blood pressure cuff, a pulse oximeter, and a digital thermometer. The bundles will allow the Falconer Library to offer patrons access to telehealth appointments.

Prendergast Library is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday the library is closed. To learn more about the Prendergast Library visit prendergastlibrary.org. or call 716-484-7135 ext. 226.

At Prendergast patrons can renew items on the phone, online, or in the library. Renewals are not permitted if another patron has placed a hold on the item.

The Falconer Library is open Monday through Wednesday 9 .m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is closed Sundays. For more information visit falconerlibrary.org or 716-665-3504.

Both libraries offer storytime for readers 6 and under, and if requesting an unavailable item, materials from other libraries can be requested and delivered to the library for pick up, free of charge.

To enjoy most of the libraries’ offereings plan a trip or stay logged in to enjoy them digitally.

mzabrodsky@post-journal.com or (716) 487-1111 ext. 239

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