More internet access and creative space in the Niagara Falls public library system

The Niagara Falls Public Library System receives more than $ 210,000 in grants to help strengthen its access to broadband and technology. One of the major additions is a so-called “manufacturer’s space,” which was opened in a formal ceremony inside the Main Street branch of the system.

The manufacturer’s new space, supported by grants from the American Library Association and the Grace Foundation, offers access to computers, craft supplies, 3D printers, instant circuits, a coding robot and other high-tech creative devices. Programming will soon be introduced for users of all ages.

“It’s a library movement that started in Fayetteville, on the road just south of Syracuse, around 2008,” said Sarah Potwin, director of the Niagara Falls Public Library. “This is a programming space that allows citizens to explore new technologies and be creative using soft arts and crafts. Our Niagara Falls Creative Space is a new service, allowing our citizens to be inspired and creative.

As elected officials, members of the University of the Buffalo School of Architecture and other guests attended the dedication ceremony, a group of students from nearby Abate Elementary School were inside the space, occupied with graphic art software, snap-in electronic circuitry kits and 3D printing.

“Being able to have the technological knowledge to use a computer, use a smartphone, browse the Internet is just essential in our society,” said librarian Bridget Baker, who was ready to help children as needed. “It’s very difficult to navigate the world without this part. So being able to learn it when you’re young is a blessing. That’s wonderful.”

And it’s not as prevalent in Niagara Falls as it is in many other communities. According to Potwin, about 30 percent of residents of the city with cataracts do not have Internet access.

Another grant announced for the library system comes from the Federal Communications Commission, which is providing approximately $ 133,000 to purchase 200 Chrome books and 200 Wi-Fi hotspots, which library card holders can borrow from Main branches. Street and LaSalle.

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