It’s nearly midnight. Most Ontarians are in bed, asleep as they rest for the coming day. But in the City of Vaughan, three public libraries are still open. At the Bathurst Clark, Civic Centre and Pierre Berton Resource Libraries, students are hard at work long into the night, taking advantage of the libraries’ resources to study for their exams.
The extended Study Hall hours ensure that all students have access to the modern resources they need in order to succeed. More than eight thousand students took advantage of the opportunity in 2017. Even if they don’t have Wi-Fi, laptops or iPads at home, students in Vaughan can rest assured they’ll be able to study late at night.
It’s just one way in which Vaughan’s public libraries are being transformed into 21st-century community hubs giving all residents access to the latest technologies.
Resources that make the difference
At the Pierre Berton Resource Library, the MAKE IT! space offers equipment and workshops for those wanting to learn about new tech like 3D printers and green screens. The Bathurst Clark Resource Library’s LEARN IT! space gives children the opportunity to create movies, explore virtual and augmented reality, build computers, and code robots. And CREATE IT!, the digital media space at the Civic Centre Resource Library, includes a green room with photography and ideograph equipment, as well as a music studio with instruments, DJ gear, and production tools.
Margie Singleton, CEO of Vaughan Public Libraries (VPL), marvels at the impact.
“It amazes us every day how our technology services can enrich, inspire and transform lives,” she explains. “We’ve seen children’s eyes dance with joy as they see an augmented reality colouring page come to life with an iPad. We’ve seen business people bring visitors to our green room to show them how they’ve created their professional YouTube videos. We’ve seen students excited to give their creations to their teachers, families and friends.”
Ontario’s libraries are making inspiring moments like these possible for all residents with this new chapter in their long history of promoting literacy and education. “The most exciting thing about the technology VPL offers is that it’s available to everyone,” Singleton says. “The digital divide is real, and public libraries fill the gap. Community needs are evolving, and the library needs to evolve with them. People are now thinking of VPL as a community hub.”
Making it all happen
The connection that makes that transformation possible is provided by ORION. VPL is on the ORION network — part of the service provided to the City of Vaughan, which is embracing the opportunity to become a “smart city.”
As Nick Spensieri, Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services, for the City of Vaughan, explains, “ORION is an essential component to any intelligent community. They provide the infrastructure and services that will help catapult digital transformation within the City of Vaughan. We’re ecstatic to see a not-for-profit organization that strives to connect and empower the public sector.”
And Vaughan is far from the only region that stands to benefit. ORION’s network extends across the province. Thanks to our investment in Northern Ontario, even more libraries will have the potential to become 21st-century community hubs, providing access to the latest technologies to residents of remote and rural communities as well.
Libraries are undergoing a revolution. And ORION is proud to help empower them as they strive to make Ontario a more equitable and innovative place.