New York State Assemblymembers have determined bringing video game consoles (and other technology) to every Brooklyn Public Library branch is high priority, and have secured $3 million in state funds to see their vision through.
According to a press release, “the equipment will help BPL establish a baseline level of technology in each branch and customize digital offerings to meet the unique needs of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.”
While it is difficult to understand how these digital offerings are in any way shape or form customized — Are Xboxes particularly fitting with the community needs of Bensonhurst, PS4s with Gravesend? Is Bay Ridge clearly the type of neighborhood that most values the Wii? What on earth do they mean? — new technology will obviously be hugely beneficial to local libraries, which have ubiquitously outdated computers, a heavily used resource.
Library staff members helped choose the equipment, and will aid in the effort to show library patrons how to use it. The technology will also augment STEM programming currently offered at each library.
The equipment to be received by each branch includes:
- Video game console: Xbox, PS4, or Wii
- Portable PA system (for the 2/3 of our branches who do not already have)
- 5 iPad Airs 2
- MacBook Pro
- Windows Laptop
- Flatscreen TV 50 – 55″
- Lego Robotics kits
- Little Bits kits
What do you think, is this a good use of state money, or perhaps this cash would be better funneled towards, oh, our decrepit public transit system? Our rapidly aging infrastructure? Our dangerously potholed roads? Better job-help services?
Just earlier this month, BPL president and CEO Linda Johnson noted at the reopening of the New Utrecht Library branch that the New Utrecht Library alone requires “$5 million in projects”, including extensive exterior work, to be “what it needs to be.”
What’s more important, the crumbling facade of a building or an Xbox?