Waukegan Public Library purchases new interactive technology for children’s programming

In a world where success is often measured by how technologically savvy you are, even young children must learn how to use the newest computer systems. As part of its goal to increase the literacy of schoolchildren in the community, the Waukegan Public Library recently purchased an interactive computer system, or SMART Board, to use in tandem with existing children’s programs, storytimes, and hands-on learning activities. The SMART Board will be unveiled at the new children’s department Early Learning Center exhibit opening on Dec. 9 from 1-3 p.m.

The SMART Board is touch-sensitive interactive whiteboard that is connected to a computer and digital projector. The projector displays images on the computer that are then interacted with directly on the board. Library staff and patrons will be able to control computer games, lessons, and curriculum directly from the board, write in digital ink and even save their work for later.

SMART Board interactive whiteboards are currently scattered throughout classrooms in the Waukegan Public School District while chalkboards and dry erase boards are slowly being replaced. Nevertheless, it is not yet the norm and many Waukegan children do not have the opportunity to practice learning on this newest technology.

“We continually seek to lessen the gap between those who are capable digital learners at one end and those who do not have an opportunity to practice learning with computers. The new Smart Board is another tool in our arsenal to provide access to technology for our community,” said Elizabeth Stearns, assistant director of community services.

Paid for with funds obtained through the Digital Divide Grant by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the SMART Board will be an integral part of the children’s department programming, including the library’s current Bus to Us program generously funded by the Morrison Family, which brings whole classrooms to the library for educational lessons based on a theme. The library is also considering purchasing a second SMART Board to use in tandem with existing family literacy programs.