Reading Public Library opens rooms with a view toward collaboration – Reading Eagle

Posted: February 20, 2020 at 9:42 am


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The Reading Public Library on Wednesday opened the Dr. Jerome I. Marcus Learning and Meeting Commons.

The commons consists of three meeting rooms and two nooks on the main floor of the library intended for use by the public free of charge.

The private meeting rooms are outfitted with a commercial grade audio/video system, including ultra high definition TVs with 4K resolution and smart connectivity so users can bring their own devices. The system has the flexibility to accept any device and allows screen-mirroring without the need for a separate app. The rooms include easy WIFI connectivity for IOS, Android, Mac, Chromebook, or Windows-based devices, and all of the furniture is on wheels for easy reconfiguration, said Bronwen Gamble, library executive director.

Starting today, you can reserve one of three high-tech meetings rooms or two meeting nooks. There is a touch pad outside each room to reserve a space, or rooms can be booked on the library website, readingpubliclibrary.org.

The project was funded by a gift from Marcus. What the Marcus gift didnt cover was picked up through in-kind donations from local contractors and subcontractors like Solution AVT, Reading, to install and equip the new meeting spaces, Gamble said.

This generous gift from Dr. Marcus will transform the main library into the 21st century workforce development and collaborative learning center our residents want and need, Gamble said.

Gamble said users could include people working remotely, students with school group projects, social workers meeting clients, tutors, ESL teachers, budding entrepreneurs, and staff of small nonprofits.

Renee Dietrich, president of the librarys board of trustees, said the Marcus gift is the largest designated donation the library has ever received for a capital project.

Donors do not just want to give money away, they want to make a difference, Dietrich said.

Dietrich said the Marcus gift will transform the Reading Public Library by taking its services to a new level.

The beauty of our society is that we value the genius of the individual as well as the genius of the group, Marcus said in a statement. This project facilitates that spirit of collaboration.

"Everything is digital nowadays," Gamble said. "We want to stay proactive."

Library users had been asking the staff if there were meeting spaces available. Already, social service, education, business and other professionals had been using areas of the facility for tutoring and to meet with clients. It's a clean, safe and neutral place to meet, she said.

Gamble said she visited her daughter, Katie, an instructor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, last year where there were designated student learning rooms in the university library.

"That was my light bulb moment," she said.

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Reading Public Library opens rooms with a view toward collaboration - Reading Eagle

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February 20th, 2020 at 9:42 am

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