Ephrata Public Library Delivers Rokus and Tech Resources for Digital-Age Patrons
Writer Michael Vyskocil
Photographer Lucia De Giovanni
Ephrata, Pennsylvania, may not be exactly Silicon Valley, but it has its Rokus and tech resources thanks to the Ephrata Public Library.
In 2012, Ephrata generated quite the buzz when it pioneered lending of Roku devices. Patrons plug these digital video players into their TVs to watch digitized programming from sources ranging from PBS to popular streaming services like Netflix.
While users still need broadband Internet at home to receive the programming on their TVs, the Roku devices proved popular among patrons and caught the attention of American Libraries, School Library Journal, and other national library media sources.
The library recently received a grant that assisted with the purchase of a digital board, a table-sized tablet-like device, for the library’s children’s area. The board will feature educational children’s games and function like an interactive white board.
Joy Ashley, the library’s development director; Laura Brandt, technology manager; and Abby Balmer, assistant director, note that the Ephrata Public Library serves as an important technology resource for the Ephrata and Lancaster County community.
Indeed, promoting digital literacy and accessibility is integral to the library’s mission. Having access to gigabit Internet would further that mission.
“The biggest impact would be for people who come to the library to use the wireless in our building,” Balmer says. Brandt adds that gigabit speeds would be a game changer for her tech classes, not to mention installing updates on the library’s growing collection of digital devices.
Ashley notes that as libraries continue to serve the needs of patrons in the Digital Age, early literacy programs, like how to read to your children, are as important as knowing how to find the latest digital issue of your favorite magazine on Zinio.
Ephrata Public Library
550 S. Reading Rd.
Ephrata, PA 17522