Seventy Graduates Complete Library’s T4 program
Brooklyn, NY—Seventy students ages 14 to 18 graduated from Brooklyn Public Library’s Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies (T4) program last night, the culmination of a year-long journey that prepared them to pursue education and careers in technology while introducing them to volunteer service at the Library.
Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies was launched in 2004 to provide high school students with access to computers and cutting-edge technologies. Up to 80 Brooklyn high school students who have an interest in technology are selected each year for an eight-day training program in the summer. They complete intensive technology coursework while learning valuable customer service skills.
“Libraries are places the entire community can turn to for free access to technology, and our T4 students help Brooklyn Public Library bridge the digital divide by providing personalized assistance to patrons,” said T4 Project Coordinator Jackson Gomes, who joined Brooklyn Public Library as a part-time employee 17 years ago, while he was a student at Fort Hamilton High School, and on Friday will celebrate his tenth anniversary as a full-time BPL employee. "Along the way, participants develop technological and interpersonal skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives."
This year, participants completed courses in coding, programming, game design, Adobe Creative Suite, 3d printing, visual effects, robotics and more. At the conclusion of their training, they volunteered in 40 of Brooklyn Public Library’s 60 branches, supporting librarians and helping patrons access the Library’s many technological resources. The T4 graduates served 18,000 patrons and conducted free public workshops on subjects like iPad and computer basics, résumé development, Google’s product suite, web coding and more.
After completing their training, each T4 student was placed at a BPL branch with a mentor, devoting 120-200 volunteer hours to helping patrons utilize Library technology. Throughout the program, technology professionals helped the students prepare themselves for college and the workplace. T4 students participated in field trips that allowed them to experience the tech sector in action.
Last July, T4 piloted the new Summer Ambassador program, in which forty T4 graduates continued their library service by providing ongoing technology support at their local branches and helping with several BPL programs, including Summer Reading, Services for Older Adults, and the ESOL and Literacy programs—each of which incorporates considerable technology resources within their offerings. The program was very successful and fifty T4 graduates will have the opportunity to participate this summer.
The graduation ceremony’s keynote speaker, Time Warner Cable’s Nikita Washington, encouraged the program’s participants to pursue careers in technology. Washington has devoted much of her professional life and volunteer service to promoting STEM careers for young adults and empowering women to embark upon careers in technology.
Today's Teens, Tomorrow's Techies (T4) is made possible through the generous support of Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Time Warner Cable and NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication through the NYC Connected Communities program. Additional funding is provided by Jeffrey D. Henigson and by the Brooklyn Eagles, a vibrant group of young and engaged BPL supporters.
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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: www.bklynlibrary.org.