IN Shaler Summer 2017 - Page 45

Revival In the early ’90s it was considered revo- lutionary to connect libraries via rebuilt fax machines. Today, all 73 service locations across the county are connected through a 10Gbps fiber ring supporting 3,500 networked devices, a shared operating system, high-speed internet and universal Wi-Fi. There is a centralized automated sorting system for movement of materi- als, self-check options, and access to downloadable books, videos and audios for all residents. ACLA libraries freely share their resources countywide across municipal boundaries. ACLA libraries are at the epicenter of shifts in ed- ucation and workforce development. Today you’ll find STEM programs, Maker Space centers, media labs, tech clinics, parenting workshops, kindergarten readiness classes, coding workshops, self- publishing support, and countless other opportunities. Libraries help prepare students for first-time job success, assist job seekers with resumes and placement, provide basic skills training and support small business development. While it’s important to celebrate the success during the last 25 years, ACLA and its member libraries will continue to face challenges into the future. Constant changes in technology, pressure on the ARAD to fund a wider range of assets, the growing demands of residents for current information and new formats and the continued need to diversify library funding are just a few of the issues that remain. However, now libraries are build- ing on the strong foundation of countywide cooperation that has been established. I encourage everyone to stop by and experience what your local library has to offer. Whether you are looking for reading materials, children’s programs, job placement support, or even a place to get away, visit any local library or go to www.aclalibraries.org to find out more. n By Marilyn Jenkins, Executive Director, ACLA Shaler | Summer 2017 | icmags.com 43