By Irini Orihuela and Ryan J. Ferguson
On her way out the door, Kelsey Burchard called her younger brother and sister a third time. “Let’s go you two, it’ll be fun.” Keeping her siblings occupied hasn’t always been easy, however new opportunities at the local library are helping members of the community keep active.
This March, the Connetquot Public Library in Bohemia will include Long Island Science Center in Riverhead as a part of the 15 museum pass offered to ticket holders. When someone opts to get a pass from the library, they will gain access to the museum- free of charge. The pass is aimed to empower young minds with 21st century skills.
“It’s exciting for all of us, it’s a cost-effective way to learn,” Burchard, who lives in Ronkonkoma said. The museum passes can be printed from home or the library. Reservations can be made online. The passes have a loan-period, expiring one day after the reserved date.
The museum offers a variety of exhibits that allows people to interact with what they are viewing. The Leonardo da Vinci exhibit has his famous inventions with a virtual da Vinci as a guide, giving details of how things were made.
Since 2015, Americans’ use of libraries have fluctuated, but have been trending upward. 48% of Americans aged 16 and older have used a library in some way during the past 12 months, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities. Resources now expand beyond books.
“Our library offers a variety of opportunities to the community,” Janet Kowal, Head of Learning Commons, said. “Our calendar of events on the Connetquot Public Library website is updated daily.”
One of the most popular events at the Connetquot Public Library have been the Virtual Reality classes. They are offered four times a week and have a wide variety of patrons coming in to experience VR for the first time.
The Connetquot Public Library has become a center for academic life and research, as well as a cherished space. In September, the library opened Learning Commons. The 2,300 sq. ft space features a variety of equipment.
“The idea down here in Learning Commons is you want to come down here and learn a new skill,” Jesse Reinard, Network Systems Specialist, said.
Community members of all ages are making the most of the resources. The library has collaboration tables that comfortably fit four people, to easily work on a project. “On any given day there are always people there, working on something,” Reinard said.
“Learning how to craft on the Circuit machine is fun, as technology progresses, it’s amazing how this library keeps up,” Amanda Marcinek, Oakdale resident and senior at St. Joseph’s college, said. The Circuit is a small cutting machine that allows users to design and create crafts.
“It’s great to see so many members of our community are actively involved with our library,” Nancy Seims, Learning Commons Staff, said. “I think there’s been this idea that libraries will lose the public’s interest as technology progresses. What we have here is the complete opposite of that misconception.”
The Connetquot Public Library has grown with the ever-changing community that surrounds it. Innovative ideas such as a partnership with the Long Island Science Center in Riverhead, or Learning Commons, develop strong engagement. New events arise daily and are posted to the library’s website.