When planning for the new Central Library, one of the goals was to have the infrastructure and technology to address community needs now and in the future. At the time planning began more than three decades ago, no one knew what technology would actually be available at the time of construction. But, as this project became real, the latest technology has been integrated wherever possible into the structure of the building and services offered, making this library one of the most technologically advanced libraries in the country.
At the heart of the Central Library's infrastructure is the cutting edge Gigabit Passive Optical Network fiber optic architecture. GPON takes up less space in the building, allows for high bandwidth transmission and supports next-generation services. It allows for separate high-speed broadband networks for public and staff use. It also allows the library to use Voice Over IP (Internet Protocol) to transmit voice over a single broadband connection, which reduces communication and infrastructure costs.
Another innovation is Radio Frequency Identification materials tagging, which allows for more efficient materials handling. The book return at the lobby’s customer service desk, known as the San Diego Padres Home Plate Book Return, uses an automated conveyor system to transport returned materials to a back office area where they are automatically sorted for quick return to the collection. RFID processing means faster check out for library users and reduced staff time required to ready materials for re-shelving.
In addition to free WiFi throughout the library, there are multiple opportunities to learn, use and interact with the latest technology:
·Nearly 300 compuer workstations and digital devices are available for use in the library, including computer workstations, iPads and iPad Minis, Chromebooks, and Kindle and Sony eReaders (preloaded with the most popular titles).
·In the Betty C. Zable Foundation Computer Lab, there are 42 state-of-the-art computers that allow library users to access the Internet and computer programs they may not otherwise have at home or through other sources.
·The Wells Fargo Computer Training Center has 24 state-of-the-art computers and features a TV and Smart Board for group technology training sessions.
·The Denny Sanford Children’s Library has 27 child-sized computer work stations, including Early Literacy Stations (AWE) with 60 educational software titles spanning seven curricular areas for children ages 2-8.
·The Pauline Foster Teen Center in Memory of Stanley has computers specifically set aside for teens, a media and gaming room, and a multimedia collaborative table that allows teens to work together on multimedia projects and attend movie screenings and gaming nights.
·The Dene and Elizabeth Oliver ICAN Center for customers with disabilities has 13 specialized adaptive technology workstations, as well as mobile computing devices and trained staff to assist with the technologies.
·The I CAN, Too! Center in the Sanford Children's Library will provide resources geared to children with special learning needs. It will include TAP*it learning stations, iPads and other tablets, text magnifying software, ADA-compliant furniture, adaptive toys, Braille and audio books and resources for parents.
There are many other innovative technologies, including new apps (SDPL On the Go and Library Elf) and collaborative technologies with the onsite charter school, e3 Civic High such as the IDEA (Innovation and Digital Expression Activity) Lab with 10 high-end computers and a 3-D printer and the YES! (Youth Empowerment for Success) Learning Lab onsite television production studio. Check out a comprehensive list of technology used at the new Central Library at sandiegolibrary.org and click on new Central Library.