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Learning with KPL and Lynda.com

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We’ve got great news –  Kitchener Public Library is now offering FREE, unlimited access to Lynda.com. This amazing online learning service is yours to use in the library, from home, work, or anywhere with internet access.

Whatever your goals are this year, Kitchener Public Library can help you reach them. Just use your Kitchener Public Library card to set up an account and get started!

Learn a new skill at your own pace: from 3D and animation to web design and wireframing, and everything in between. There are more than 4,000 courses to choose from in business, technology, creative skills, and more, taught by industry experts.

You can also boost your skills and stay ahead by following a learning path: a series of courses in one subject. Become a user experience designer with 10 hours of courses, a content marketer with nine hours, or an iOs9 app developer with 32 hours.
See the full list of learning paths

Best of all, you can record your progress, boost your resume, and share it with your networks on LinkedIn.
Get started now. 

We’d love to hear about your progress! Share your experiences using #KPLLearn on Twitter.

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Sandvine building bridges over the digital divide

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Thank you to Sandvine for your generous support! Dave Caputo, CEO at Sandvine, with Mary Chevreau, CEO of Kitchener Public Library, and Rick Wadsworth, Director of Corporate Communications at Sandvine.

Users of Kitchener Public Library’s popular wi-fi lending program will be soon be getting a gift from local tech giant Sandvine, a global leader in network policy control.

Launched in October 2015, Kitchener Public Library was the first in Canada to offer a free wi-fi hotspot lending program. Members use their library card to borrow an Internet hotspot device for up to two weeks, giving them access to unlimited data anywhere in Canada where there is Rogers cell coverage.

Earlier this year, the Ontario Library Association recognized Kitchener Public Library with an Ontario Library Information Technology Association Award for outstanding innovation in their community.

The library started the hotspot collection with 20 devices, but soon realized they were onto something big. “We knew our wi-fi lending program would be popular, but we were amazed with the response from our library users,” reports Mary Chevreau, CEO of Kitchener Public Library. “Not only does the long wait list for our few hotspot devices prove this, but sadly, it also illustrates the very real digital divide that exists in our technology-focused community.”

Thankfully the need for services like those offered by the library have not gone unnoticed by the technology sector.

Thanks to Sandvine’s generosity, the library’s wi-fi lending program will soon be getting a much needed boost, with the addition of another 20 new hotspot devices and financial support for ongoing data usage.

“Sandvine’s products help several ISPs around the world offer free Internet services to their subscribers, so we jumped at the opportunity to make a donation to the Kitchener Public Library to do the same thing for those in our own community,” said Dave Caputo, CEO, Sandvine. “Waterloo Region is flourishing thanks to the power of the Internet, and KPL’s wi-fi lending program plays an important role in ensuring that anyone in the region can have access to the empowerment it provides.”

The library’s hotspot devices are ideal for job seekers, students, or anyone who needs access to the internet or digital library resources outside library hours, or outside the library. The wi-fi hotspot devices are currently available at Central Library but will also be available at community libraries in the coming months.

More details


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Party in the Stacks

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Andrea Bellemare of CBC-KW, Sam Allen from the band Run Coyote, and our amazing MC, Craig Norris of CBC-KW

This fall, we held a fundraising kick-off party for our new digital media studio, Studio Central, and we’re overwhelmed with the support we saw from this community. Party in the Stacks was a big success, thanks to so many of you. See the photos below.

It was a sold-out event, with more than 300 people in attendance. We had 14 generous sponsors, 12 companies that supported the event with their time, talent and equipment, and the Downtown Kitchener BIA and local restaurants provided the food.

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Craig Norris from CBC-KW acted as our incredible MC. Our amazing speakers included keynote speaker Gerry Remers, past president of Christie Digital. Steven Woods from Google, City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, and Hive Waterloo Region founder Stephanie Rozek.

Performers included the band Run Coyote, magician Scott Hammell, and dancers from Star Performance Academy.

Our volunteers and staff helped the event run smoothly: Karrie Zettler, Veronica Naas, Pam Gruetzmacher, Kim Cluthe, Elaine Tustin-Smith, Sara Faulhafer, Nancy Duncan, Claudia Naas, Sherry Erb, Shelley Zettler, Brandon Abram, Kristin Johnson-Perlock, Robyn Zondervan, Meg Harder, Laura Reed, Janice Colussi,Berkeley Wall, and Jim Tomeo.

To all of you, we can’t thank you enough. Your support and enthusiasm for Studio Central , and will mean so much in this community as we all work together to provide opportunities for digital literacy to everyone. The transformation has already begun, with the installation of a virtual reality system.

Stay tuned as Studio Central continues to develop. We can’t wait to see what you create, record, edit, and share with the world!


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National Volunteer Week: Alison Bullock

We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 10 – 16!

Meet Alison Bullock, an integral part of the team that runs French Immersion Tutors at Forest Heights Community Library.

Bilingual volunteers help French immersion students with their homework every Thursday afternoon from 4 – 5:30 pm.

It’s a volunteer position that’s perfectly suited to Alison, who is a Digital Literacy Support Teacher at Waterloo Region District School Board. That means she’s a technology coach for teachers and students, helping them integrate technology into the curriculum. She has a workload of 25 elementary schools, about half of which are French immersion schools.

Alison Bullock

Alison Bullock

“I’ve always been a huge believer in libraries. I’ve always appreciated that it’s there for me, with free books and community events,” she says.

As a child, Alison went to KW Bilingual School, and took French immersion at Elmira District Secondary School. Volunteering is one way she keeps her language ability strong.

“I have to speak and think in French at least once a week, so that’s good to keep my fluency going, too,” she says.

Alison and the other team members help students with specific homework assignments, or use technology to practise French in a more informal way if there’s no homework to be done. And she’s taking a leadership role by training other volunteers in how to use online games, Tumble Books, and apps such as TFO, to help integrate technology into tutoring.

“We’re morphing and changing how we do things,” she says, noting that it’s not always beneficial for a child who just spent all day at school to come to the library and sit at a table for tutoring. That’s why volunteers make an effort to sit on couches or the floor and use interactive learning tools.

Alison notes that French Immersion Tutors can be particularly helpful for families with parents who speak little or no French. For the students, “just to sit and speak, to think and process in that language can be beneficial,” she says.

Alison has also trained to be a shelf reader. During the summer months, she plans to help us keep our French language resources in good shape on days when rain keeps her from the golf course.

Alison, thank you for all you do to contribute to your community!

FRENCH IMMERSION TUTORS
Thursdays at Forest Heights until May 12
1/2 hour sessions
4 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5 pm
Register for each session you wish to attend

Learn more about language resources at KPL
including books and DVDs in French for children and adults


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Faster, higher, stronger: improved internet access

GUEST POST BY LESA BALCH, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGIES AND CONTENT

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Access to the internet just got faster!  In fact, Kitchener Public Library now offers 200 Mbps of bandwidth to access the internet.

Two years ago, Kitchener Public Library increased the bandwidth that is available to use the internet across all library locations for both connected computers and WiFi. Then, in the past two years, WiFi usage more than tripled.

  • 2013 = WiFi used 121,963 times
  • 2015 = WiFi used 406,369 times

With this dramatic increase in WiFi usage, along with an increase in streaming video, whether short YouTube clips or full-length movies, it was time to increase the bandwidth again.  This time the library doubled the bandwidth to 200 Mbps.

The increase in bandwidth means customers should not experience any lags in accessing websites, opening email, or viewing video clips.

And, there’s more good news.

Kitchener Public Library was recently nominated for a Business Excellence Award from the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce in the Innovation Award category for our WiFi hotspot lending program Borrow the Internet.

While the award went to the Perimeter Institute (congratulations to them!), it was an honour to be recognized with a list of nominees that included local research and technology companies.

With the Borrow the Internet program, we are making a difference in the lives of people, and helping people bridge the digital divide. In one case, a woman used a library hotspot to search for jobs from home, so that she did not have to pay bus fare to come to the library for internet access. Someone else was relieved that he could stay connected to work while visiting his parents who only have dial-up internet.

We’re now investigating ways to fund the expansion of the Borrow the Internet program, with additional hotspot devices at more library locations.

Learn more about access to technology

Learn about your Tech Bar

Learn about your Digital Media Lab


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Support your library and win prizes!

Leejay

As you probably know, Kitchener Public Library has partnered with the Levene family on the 2016 Leejay Levene fundraising calendars.

Proceeds from this year’s Leejay calendar will be used to create a Teen Tech Livingroom at Central Library – a place for teens to connect and collaborate on digital projects.

As we head toward the holidays and the New Year, now is a great time to buy your Leejay calendar. At just $10, it makes a perfect stocking stuffer, or an inexpensive gift for teachers, caregivers, and neighbours.

Here’s a little added incentive!

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Lifelong learning

GUEST POST BY AIMEE JEFFREY, Adult Literacy Librarian

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For over 40 years UNESCO has promoted International Literacy Day on September 8 to focus attention on literacy issues and needs. It’s estimated that more than 970 million of the world’s population don’t know how to read or write, and many children lack access to education.

From a local perspective, did you know that low literacy affects 24% of the population (adults 16 years +) in Waterloo- Wellington? These adults lack the skills to deal with everyday printed materials. Does that number surprise you?

Literacy in 21st century Canada means more than knowing how to read, write or calculate. Many people with low literacy skills have some reading, writing and math skills, but they may lack the skills needed to cope with the demands of our rapidly changing society and job market.

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