EXTON— Local legislators, dignitaries, and library advocates gathered at the Chester County Library in Exton on Tuesday morning, April 11, for a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the library’s new digital media lab and teen zone.
The project, which included a total redesign of the library’s balcony, was in the planning stages for over three years. “By making more efficient use of the space, we were able to add approximately 1800 square feet of public space to the balcony area, creating this Teen Zone, expanding our Jacobs Technology Center, and consolidating the OIC Adult Tutoring Center with library staff workspace,” explained Marguerite Dube, Director of the Chester County Library.
The Chester County Library partners with the Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center (CC-OIC) of West Chester, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free adult basic literacy education and life skills programs that prepare individuals for employment leading to economic self-sufficiency. For more information, please visit chescolibraries.org and click on “using the library.”
While the planning of this was going on, the Chester County Library had the opportunity to apply for and was awarded an LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) Grant to add a Digital Media Lab and Makerspace to the Jacob’s Technology Center. The expansion is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.
“I am very pleased, as a mother of two teenagers, and an avid reader, to celebrate the future of the Chester County Library today,” remarked Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline.
County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone added, “One of the jewels in the crown that is Chester County is our amazing library system. The new space in the Chester County Library is open and free – open and free to creativity and new ideas.”
Some of the equipment now available to the public in the digital media lab include; 3D Printer, large format flatbed scanner, thermal laminator, die cutting machine, button maker, iMac computers, surface pros, a digital SLR camera with microphone and photo video studio light kit, and more. The full list of equipment and software is available on www.chescolibraries.org.
The library also received a smaller grant from Power Library for digitization equipment, which was a great complement to the project. The entire project was made possible by the Chester County Library Board of Trustees, Chester County Board of Commissioners, Institute of Library and Museum Services, the Friends of the Chester County Library, and Power Library.
“Libraries of the past used to be places of consumption – libraries of the future are places of creation,” stated Richard Hankin, President of the Chester County Library Board of Trustees. “This is as clear of a metaphor as you can have as we stand on this balcony. We are up here in the digital media lab in a place of creation, and look over the balcony down to where we have come from – overlooking all the books and materials of consumption.”
The new Teen Zone will house the young adult (YA) fiction and graphic novel collections. The Teen Zone has comfortable seating for reading, doing school work, or just hanging out. In addition to our regular Teen Library Crew programs, this summer the library will offer new programs for teens, including the return of the Teen Reading Lounge, a Pennsylvania Humanities Council Program.
“My mom was a librarian in the 1950’s and 1960’s – if she saw this library today – she would probably faint!,” noted Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell. “An accolade we receive year-after-year is that we are one of the best educated Counties in the Commonwealth. One of the reasons why is because we have such great libraries and services,” he continued.
The latest services and equipment meet the County Business Strategic Plan goals to support lifelong learning, to increase library programs, and to assist business and career growth. Please contact the John W. Jacobs Technology for more information or visit www.chescolibraries.org for upcoming Digital Media Lab and Makerspace one-on-one training and group workshops.
from left to right: James Norton (Chester County Library Board of Trustees Member), Kathleen Pearse (Chester County Library Board of Trustees Member), Marguerite Dube (Director of the Chester County Library), Joseph Sherwood (Executive Director of the Chester County Library System), Richard Hankin (President of the Chester County Library Board of Trustees), Glenn Miller (Deputy Secretary of Education and Commissioner for Libraries), Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell, Congressman Ryan Costello, Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone, JoAnn Weinberger (Chester County Library Board of Trustees Member), and State Representative Duane Milne.
submitted by Amy Krize Suveg,
Public Relations & Graphic Design Specialist,
Chester County Library & District Center
450 Exton Square Parkway, Exton, PA 19341