Downtown’s Central Library is a place of professional and creative development, a cozy study space and just a place to kick back. It houses the highest number of public access computers at nearly 100 total, out of all 10 Forsyth County library branches.
Ronald Canales, age 41, is a frequenter of Central Library. Originally from El Salvador, he landed in Kernersville, NC to find more job opportunities. Making the 20-minute journey from Kernersville, he comes to the Central Library at least four days out of the week to visit friends and watch videos —ranging from new technology innovations throughout the world to the latest news on CNN en Espagnol.
“I have a computer, but I don’t use it because I don’t have Wi-Fi where I live,” Conales said. “I look at videos, get on Facebook, things like that.”
Central Library is newly renovated and reopened about a year ago. Renovations included an advancement of technological resources, including a recording studio and computer training lab.
The second floor’s public computers consist of ten rows. Just two rows behind Conales, sat another guest in need of the library’s public Wi-Fi access.
“My Wi-Fi at home was acting crazy!” Said Francesca Beazer, a 25-year-old Winston-Salem State University alum. “I don’t come here that often, but I do like that it puts me in a different scene.”
Beazer was on the hunt for cut-outs that her students at Quality Education Academy could decorate for their annual cultural day. Coming to the library was a good change of environment from work and home for her to complete little tasks.
Fifteen-year-old Johana Santiago was visiting for her first time. She attended Atkins High School, which has computers available for students to use — but the library was a better working environment to her.
“I’m doing biomedical homework,” she said. “I plan to get an education in this later.”
Santiago also said she would continue to come to the library to complete future homework assignments.
The library also hosts a variety of digital learning classes mainly through the Computer Training Bridge. This is a free service that teaches digital literacy from elementary age students to senior citizens. There are a range of classes, from a basic introduction course to using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook. Classes are held every week this month during the morning and afternoon.
Chicago native Tim Scott, age 51, comes to the Central Library almost every day using its resources from books to computers. He spends most of his time writing on the computers, heavily focused on urban mysteries.
“I’ll either write a short story or a novel, I’m not sure yet,” Scott said. “I’m also looking into the library’s writing classes starting up.”
While he spends most of his time writing in the library, this day Scott was perfecting his résumé – a common use of the library’s computers according to Librarian Technology Page Tyler Stinson. Stinson works mainly in the Computer Services department.
“Some people just come up to the help desk to have a casual conversation, but people also need help with things like school work, emails, job applications and so on,” he said.
Luckily, Tyler’s work experience is suited for such one-on-one assistance. In his previous position as an assistant to the Computer Training Bridge program, Tyler taught computer skills for various Microsoft programs. He has also worked with Goodwill, using Joblink to assist people in filling out applications and developing résumés.
Rhonda Smith is the Project Director of the Computer Training Bridge and leads many of the classes offered through the program.
“We try to touch everybody in the community, that’s our perspective,” Smith stated. “We have one more class to finish our Senior Tech Camp, and we also have a program called Ozobots where we teach coding for children ages seven to twelve. We are here to help every age group.”