Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In 2013, Thousands of Brooklynites Accessed Information Commons’ Tech-Equipped Meeting Rooms, Professional Training Programs and Co-Working Facilities

Brooklyn, NY – Today, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of its multifunctional, innovative technology center, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons. Located in BPL’s Central Library on Grand Army Plaza, the Information Commons offers a 5,500-square-foot space boasting seating and outlets for 70 laptop users, 25 public desktop computers (including Macs and PCs), meeting rooms, educational training programs and a recording studio outfitted with a computer editing station and DSLR camera.

Designed with the intention of serving the community at large and accommodating a wide range of demands, the Information Commons provides specialized resources to support students, researchers, professionals, entrepreneurs and jobseekers. When the space was launched, BPL announced that public meeting rooms would be available to facilitate collaborative thinking with the aim of fostering creativity and innovation. Equipped with electronic whiteboards and flat screen monitors for multimedia presentations, webinars and video conferences, the seven meeting rooms have been reserved 4,600 times by BPL cardholders, resulting in 7,950 hours of usage by the public.

“In its first year of operation, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons has become one of Brooklyn Public Library’s busiest spaces. Our goal was to create a collaborative, flexible and inviting space so it is incredibly rewarding to see how well it has been embraced by the community,” said Linda E. Johnson, President & CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “The Information Commons has truly revolutionized the resources and learning opportunities we offer to Brooklynites from all walks of life, and we are deeply grateful to Shelby White and the Leon Levy Foundation for making this possible.”

Shelby White, Founding Trustee of The Leon Levy Foundation, said, “All of us at the Leon Levy Foundation are delighted that the Information Commons is such a hit with the people of Brooklyn. It is gratifying to see how many residents have taken advantage of this new technology and the vast amounts of information available online at the Brooklyn Public Library."

Reflective of BPL’s broader commitment to encouraging digital literacy and learning, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons offers an array of educational, training and software services. The 25 desktop computers are configured with sophisticated software programs including the Adobe Creative Suite, Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro X, among others. The Information Commons also features a learning lab.

A range of classes, events, services and workshops has been offered in collaboration with over two dozen organizations, including BRIC | Arts | Media | Bklyn, SCORE, NY Writers Coalition, the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, Callen-Lorde Health Clinic and Coderdojo NYC. Some of the programs currently offered are Introduction to Digital Photography, Resume Writing Basics, a monthly genealogy workshop, “office hours” for Microsoft Excel for business needs and a weekly Teen Tech Time.

About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website:

About The Leon Levy Foundation
The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, an investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation’s overarching goal is to support scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large.