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A Man Uses Library System's Free Access [to] Create Dyslexia App

A Man Uses Library System's Free Access Create Dyslexia App | Monday, January 28, 2019

BY HEIDE BRANDES, THE Journal Record OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Pierre Liebenberg of Norman knew his son was having trouble reading. He started switching letters and words around, dreaded having to get up in front of the class to read aloud and lost his confidence.

"We started seeing the signs, and we had him diagnosed. He has dyslexia, pretty severe dyslexia," Liebenberg said to The Journal Record . "We looked for help, but local schools don't recognize dyslexia as a learning disability. I started doing my own research and found if I showed him one word at a time on a yellow background with a specific black font, he would recognize the word."

As a software designer and a former English teacher, Liebenberg came up with an idea to create an app based on the flashcards. However, he needed to learn iOS programming and other skills in order to create the app.

"I found out I could take all the courses at the Metropolitan Library using Lynda.com for free," he said.

Nine months later, Liebenberg introduced Lexico, an app specifically designed to help children with dyslexia read. Since his son was diagnosed, he has doubled his reading ability and built up his confidence with words. Lexico is available for iPad, and an iPhone version is being created.

Liebenberg isn't alone in using the Metropolitan Library System to learn new skills or develop technical expertise, and Lynda.com isn't the only resource available to those wanting more education.

Through a new partnership with Google introduced soon, the Metropolitan Library System is getting even more high-tech when it comes to learning resources.

According to Victoria Stephens, communications coordinator for the Metropolitan Library System, Lynda.com is an online learning resource that can be accessed through a home computer, smartphone or mobile device.

The service offers more than 4,000 courses in areas like business, technical and software skills, creative techniques, public speaking, IT management, web design and more.

Residents with a library card can access the service for free. Lynda.com is typically a subscription-based service and was purchased by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion in 2015.

Through Lynda.com for libraries, users can take a course and watch teaching videos in "small, easy-to-manage chunks."

"We have had Lynda.com available since 2015 and we have almost 2,700 Lynda.com users. People use it to explore a hobby they are interested in or learn how to use a computer or even, for those who are tech-savvy, learn how to build an app, like Pierre," she said. "We are always on the lookout for new learning resources for the library, especially resources people can access at home without having to come in and use our computers. It's really easy to access and use, and people like that."

David Emmons, a digital media technician at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, said he stumbled upon the free Lynda.com service while at a training course.

"We were switching over from Final Cut Pro (a video editing software) to Final Cut Pro X, which was vastly different and virtually unrecognizable. The workshop instructor mentioned Lynda.com and said it had a lot of good resources that go beyond what the workshop covered," Emmons said.

When Emmons learned that the Metropolitan Library System had free access to the learning program, he jumped on it. Opting to use Adobe software instead of the Final Cut software, Emmons knew he had to learn the basics and the more sophisticated aspects of the Adobe suite.

"I hadn't put the free Lynda to good use until we had to go through the transition," he said. "The library's service saved me a ton of money, too. If I had the subscription service, it would have cost me a couple of hundred dollars by now."

Like many library patrons, Emmons wasn't aware that the online learning was available for free until his wife told him.

"I don't think a lot of people know that they have to click the download tab. But, I think there's something for everyone on there," he said.

In December, the Metropolitan Library System announced that it received a grant from the Grow with Google program, allowing for Google Chromebook laptops at seven Oklahoma City metro-area libraries

The laptops can be checked out for up to 21 days at a time as part of the Tech Tools at Your Library program, which was introduced earlier in December by the Metropolitan Library System and Grow with Google.

Through the program, residents with a library card can take mobile hot spots and the laptops home with them if they do not have access to a computer or internet service at home. The library will hold workshops, which begin in January, on computer skills before users can check out the equipment.

The partnership is part of the Grow with Google initiative to help create economic opportunities for all Americans.

"Oklahoma City is outpacing the nation in many categories, including job growth, but many residents still need to connect with resources that can help them expand their skill set or grow their business," Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said in a press statement. "We are excited about this Grow with Google program that will harness the power of the web, the accessibility of our library system and OKC's growing economy to make a real impact in our community."

Through this initiative, the Metropolitan Library System will launch several skill-building and community resource programs at various branches throughout the metro that will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The workshops range from improved English speaking to one-on-one help on using the equipment, online job seeking, skills classes and digital training for formerly incarcerated patrons.

According to the Pew Research Center, Americans look to libraries to learn digital literacy. The report said respondents view libraries as contributing to the economic health of the community. Of those responding to the study, 75 percent said libraries have been effective at helping people learn how to use new technologies.

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Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com

An AP Member Exchange shared by The Journal Record.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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DWe Williams has spent her life sharing the arts

DWe Williams has spent her life sharing the arts | Monday, February 12, 2018

The Oklahoman
by Matt Patterson Published: February 11, 2018 5:00 AM CDT Updated: February 11, 2018 5:00 AM CDT

DWe Williams has spent her life sharing the arts

New Bethany library taking shape

NewsOK | Wednesday, February 07, 2018

New Bethany library taking shape
By Henry Dolive For The Oklahoman Published: February 7, 2018 5:00 AM CDT

BETHANY — Steel superstructure is in place on Bethany's 23,000-square-foot public library that is being financed by an $8.1 million bond approved by city voters last year and about $2 million in Metropolitan Library System funds.

Arlita Harris, Ward 2 city councilwoman and chair of the library steering committee for the city, said construction is on schedule for a planned opening late this year.

Harris said the planning and zoning commission will consider plans for the playground and park improvements Feb. 15, and the city council will consider them Feb. 20.

The plans include a gazebo and amenities for a handicap-accessible park that will be developed adjacent to the new library.

Shiloh Enterprises Inc. in Edmond is the general contractor for the library, with a winning construction bid last year of $5,738,000 that included demolition of Bethany's original library building.

Proceeds from the voter-approved bond will cover construction costs and overall campus improvements, Harris said. Library system money financed preliminary architectural drawings and will cover the cost of computers, other equipment, furnishings and library materials, she said.

The new library is being built at 6700 NW 35 in Bethany, immediately south of Bethany city government and police operations.

The library will include artwork inside the library and on the grounds, meeting space, drive-up book drop, quiet reading area, teen center, children's program section, outdoor reading porches and an increased collection of materials. The revamped campus will include walking trails, pond improvements and extensive landscaping.

Harris said construction crews hope to complete the library's exterior before the wetter spring and summer months so that work inside the library can begin.

Bethany's original library opened in 1965 but had become outdated and cramped. Current library operations are housed in temporary space at 7941 NW 23.

Library Announces Events Celebrating Black History Month

| Friday, February 02, 2018

The Metropolitan Library System will celebrate Black History Month with programs available at Oklahoma County libraries throughout the month of February.

Kicking off the month is popular musical group, Short Dogg. They will take you on musical journey through Oklahoma's jazz history, beginning with the deep deuce jazz era in Oklahoma City, through the Greenwood jazz scene in Tulsa, then through today's contemporary jazz era.

Rhythmically Speaking will present, The Principal, the Superintendent, and the Philanthropist, a story about three strong women who made their mark on education.

MLS staff librarian and musician, Cheryl Coleman, will entertain everyone with a musical tribute that will introduce you to the history of the 13 Historic All Black Towns of Oklahoma.

History tells us Oklahoma found itself at the center of a national debate concerning the term “freedmen” during the late nineteenth century. Learn more as doctoral student of history, Leroy Myers, details the relationship between Native freedmen and black Americans in Oklahoma.

Throughout the month, the Ralph Ellison Library located at 2000 NE 23rd in OKC, will also hold additional Black History Month programs and performances. Learn the history of the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen and get tips for researching your own family tree. A few special film viewings will be offered including viewings of And the Children Shall Lead, 13th, and I Am Not Your Negro. A special film release party will also be held for the premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther, the first black superhero in mainstream American comics.

MLS also offers a variety of resources on African American history and heritage including research sources with biographies, images, historical records, newspapers, and genealogical archives. For more information on Black History Month programming and resources, visit our Black History Month page.

Midwest City library has something for everyone

Midwest City Beacon | Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Randy Wayland has seen a lot of changes in this 34-plus years with the Metropolitan Library System – and, he’s worked his fair share of locations throughout that system. But, Midwest City is what he’s chosen to call his professional home, he says.

Firefighter obstacle course held at Midwest City Library

Firefighter obstacle course held at Midwest City Library | Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NewsOK.com
Staff Reports Published: June 21, 2017 5:00 AM CDT

MIDWEST CITY — Children learned what it's like to be a firefighter at the Midwest City Library.

Firefighters from the Midwest City Fire Department held the Stop! Drop! Roll! firefighter's obstacle course on Thursday at the library, where visitors learned about carrying fire hoses, dodging obstacles and how to put out imaginary flames.

New Bethany library to incorporate community requests

NewsOK | Sunday, June 04, 2017

By Henry Dolive For The Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA CITY - BETHANY — Officials are looking at a mid-August construction start for Bethany's new public library, to be funded largely from an $8.1 million bond that voters approved in April 2016.

Contractors are expected to begin bidding on the project in June, following final approval of architectural plans for the library to be built on the site of Bethany's now-closed library at 3510 N Mueller Ave.

Library operations are housed presently at a temporary location at 7941 NW 23.

Officials will open bids on the 23,000-square-foot library project at 2 p.m. July 6, said City Manager J.D. Cox, with a contract to be awarded that month. Groundbreaking and start of construction is set for Aug. 12, he said.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Arlita Harris, who chairs the library steering committee, said the committee is pleased with the construction cost estimate.

“It came in right where we wanted it to be,” she said. “If the bids come in that way, it will be a wonderful thing.”

The construction contract will include demolition of the old library, which closed in February. The new library will occupy the same site but will be about triple the size.

Among features to be offered in the new library, Harris said, are conference space for groups of 100 or more, a larger collection of materials, a drive-up book drop, a quiet reading area and a special section for children's programs.

The new library also will include a teen center, large picture windows and outdoor reading porches. The campus will include walking trails, improvements to the nearby pond, a new playground, additional parking with wider spaces and extensive landscaping.

Construction will take 12 to 18 months.

Cox said the library was designed to incorporate many of the requests made during public meetings conducted before the bond election.

The Bethany Library is part of the Metropolitan Library System, which oversees staffing, selection of materials and day-to-day library operations, and is providing about $2 million toward the new library.

Cox praised the leadership of Harris, Metropolitan Library System Director Tim Rogers, Bethany's library consultant Todd Olberding and others.

“An enormity of work has been completed to bring this project to this point of final approval to go out for construction,” Cox said. “It has truly been a team effort.”

Harris said the presentation to the city council on June 5 will be led by Denelle Wrightson, director of library architecture for Dewberry Architects, the firm chosen by the city council. Harris described Wrightson as one of the world's foremost library architects, having designed 250 to 300 libraries.

Bethany' old 8,400-square-foot library was opened in 1965, and while one of the metro system's busier libraries, it was one of the smallest. It did not meet handicap-accessibility requirements, lacked energy-efficiency, had little meeting space, and its mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were dated.

“We hope that this new and much-improved library will increase our sense of community and provide residents with a wonderful place to spend time with family and neighbors,” said Nikki Phipps, Bethany public information officer.

Voters gave the bond proposal 71.7 percent approval, with the question winning by a vote of 1,022-404.

Libraries adding healthy vending machines

Libraries Adding Healthy Vending Machines | Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Libraries adding healthy vending machines
By: Journal Record Staff
October 18, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY – In partnership with the American Heart Association, Oklahoma County’s Metropolitan Library System has been outlining the development and implementation of evidence-based nutrition standards for healthier foods and beverages in vending machines in libraries.

Vending machines in the Metropolitan Library System will meet AHA-recommended nutrition standards to provide members with healthier options and provide basic education on nutritional value of the food available. The library system’s 550 employees will have healthier choices in vending machines where they work.

“We are currently in the process of conducting assessments on their vending machines to assess how many of the items meet the AHA nutrition standards,” said Breanna Russell, AHA’s regional campaign manager team lead, Anchor Partnerships Program. “We will then work with the library system and vendor providing resources to implement healthy options, as well as resources to help generate awareness and educate the public about the new food choices offered within the libraries.”

ONEcard Partnership between OKC Public Schools and Metro Library

ONEcard Partnership between OKC Public Schools and Metro Library | Wednesday, October 19, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY - Students in the Oklahoma City Public School District won't need a library card anymore.

"We thought 'Let's start with the biggest school system we have in Oklahoma County,' which was Oklahoma City Public Schools,” said Kim Terry, director of public relations and marketing at Metropolitan Library System.

All students need to check out a book at an Oklahoma City library is their student ID.

"They can check out any of our books. They can check out 10 books, CDs. We have music CDs, audiobooks they can check out," Terry said.

Because fines can keep a child from coming back to the library, late returns will not be penalized.

Computers are popular at libraries, and it's hoped the students will also take advantage of 120 online learning tools.

"Say a child is having trouble with math. They can go on our learning express page, click on elementary, go to math skills and do a bunch of practice skills with math," Terry said.

Because, easy accessibility is important to keep a child motivated.

"A lot of times, I know, when I was in high school, I knew 'Okay, I really need to do homework,' but I didn't want to go to the library. I waited until the last minute. Well, now, you can access all of this stuff from home,” Terry said.

The Metropolitan Library said, since Sept. 1st, 1,000 students have used the new One Card system.

They are hoping to expand to other districts.

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