Library plays important role in smart city recognition

Westerville, OH – The Westerville Public Library’s efforts to bridge the digital divide and encourage lifelong learning are being championed by the City of Westerville and the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) this week.

Recently named a 2019 Top 7 Intelligent Community, the city is highlighting many of the tools and services that make Westerville unique during the final stages of judging to select the Smart Community of the Year.

A site tour with ICF co-founder Robert Bell on April 23, 2019 highlighted the library’s emphasis on passion-driven learning and innovation. Dedicated to digital inclusion for all ages, the library continues to provide access to and awareness of burgeoning technology. In 2018 the library ensured that all citizens – regardless of financial, physical, or language barriers – gained 21st century skills by hosting 261 technology training events and scheduling 105 one-on-one training sessions.

Pictured from left to right: David Collinsworth (City Manager at City of Westerville), Tracy Davidson (Board President for Westerville City Schools), Erin Francoeur (Executive Director of Westerville Public Library), Janet Tressler-Davis (President/CEO of Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce), Dr. John Comerford (President of Otterbein University), Robert Bell (Co-Founder of Intelligent Community Forum), Todd Jackson (Chief Information Officer at City of Westerville), Erin Bender (Executive Director of The Point at Otterbein), Gene Hollins (Chairman of the Board for Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce), Julie Colley (Assistant City Manager at City of Westerville)

Paired with conveniences such as delivery service to 117 locations, access to digital creation tools and state-of-the-art computers, a drive-thru window that welcomed 61,383 visitors in 2018, and Wi-Fi mobile hotspots available for checkout, residents are setup for success in today’s digital economy. Access to diverse collections and millions of items from across the state through SearchOhio (established and maintained by the Westerville Public Library) provides even more educational opportunities to Ohioans from near and far.

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes with the library’s 3D printing service which produced 183 prototypes and other projects in 2018. Popular subscriptions to Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning), Optimal Resume, and language-learning products provide essential training for citizens to gain a competitive edge in the knowledge workforce. STEM programming for kids and teens incorporates coding, robotics, engineering, and math-related curriculum to ensure that Westerville continues to attract and retain top talent for the workforce of tomorrow.

The library’s popular Meet the Authors series – which has welcomed 38 authors since 2012 – promotes literacy education as an essential tool for learning and energizes community conversations.

In 2019 the Innovation Lab will open with even more options to experiment and explore, including a recording studio, virtual and augmented reality tools, and robust printing options. From recent graduates to immigrants new to America, mid-career workers to retirees wishing to remain in the workforce, the Westerville Public Library offers unprecedented support to the Westerville community.

The Intelligent Community Forum is a global network of cities and regions with a think tank at its center. Its mission is to help communities use information and communications technology (ICT) to create inclusive prosperity, tackle social and governance challenges and enrich their quality of life. For more information on the Intelligent Community Forum, visit intelligentcommunity.org.

Last updated: 4/24/2019

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