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Henderson Libraries to showcase technology at Future Fair

Henderson Libraries is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a Future Fair showcasing its technology offerings.

The free event is Saturday at Gibson Library, and it’s open to the public.

When library officials were planning for the event, the consideration was, “how can we showcase the technology the library offers that is forward-thinking and on the edge there?” said Marcie Smedley, executive director of Henderson Libraries.

Future Fair will include presentations and live demonstrations on topics such as robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality, conservation and sustainability. Children can participate in science, technology, engineering, math and arts activities.

The library is partnering with other organizations for the event to “showcase the futuristic things they do,” Smedley said.

Organizations include the Henderson Redevelopment Agency, Green Our Planet, Oasis Biotech, Workforce Connections, Growing Gears, Blockchains LLC and robotics teams from Nate Mack Elementary and Green Valley High schools.

This year, the library has hosted a couple of other events to celebrate its 75th anniversary, including a 1940s-themed birthday block party in February and a dancing through the decades prom in May.

In the 1940s, Henderson’s first library opened in the downtown area. Now, there are four branches: Gibson, Green Valley, Heritage Park and Paseo Verde.

“People have preconceived ideas about what libraries were,” Smedley said. “The fact is that libraries are really adaptable and change to meet the needs of the community.”

Looking to the future

Henderson Libraries’ technology offerings include coding classes, virtual reality activities and 3D printing. And its strategic plan includes a goal of having community technology centers within library branches, Smedley said.

It’s also budgeting more money toward digital resources rather than adding hard copies of books.

However, “we’re not getting rid of all physical books, and that’s not something we’ll probably ever do because people love physical books,” digital projects librarian Dana Friesen said.

The library system’s strategic plan includes a goal of expanding digital resources, including online databases that are free for library patrons to use. Examples of databases currently offered: Brainfuse Online Tutoring; LearningExpresss, which offers test preparation help; and Lynda.com, an online learning resource.

Last year, the library system started offering access to Kanopy, a service for streaming movies and documentaries. And this year, it launched access to Creativebug, a video how-to resource for crafters.

And Henderson Libraries has a mobile app — available for iPhone or Android devices — allowing users to see lists of some newly released books and which items they’ve checked out and or placed on hold; pay overdue fines; look at library event calendars; and access OverDrive and Hoopla systems to check out ebooks and audiobooks.

Plus, the app allows users to scan an ISBN barcode of a book they may see at a bookstore, for example, to see whether it’s available at a Henderson library branch.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

If you go

What: Future Fair

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Gibson Library, 100 W. Lake Mead Parkway

Admission: Free

More information: 702-565-8402

Schedule of activities: Slime making, 9 a.m.; Lego build and boo bubbles (made with dry ice), 10 a.m.; Robotics demonstration by the Nate Mack Elementary School and Green Valley High School robotics teams, 11 a.m.; renewable energy and career development, presented by Workforce Connections, and slime making, noon; “What is Blockchain?” presented by Sena Loyd of Blockchains LLC, and boo bubbles, 1 p.m.

Technology-driven networking event

What: Event focused on cutting-edge technologies and what skillset it takes to work in those fields

When: 2-4 p.m. Oct. 18

Where: Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway

Admission: Free

Details: Representatives from local companies such as Aptiv, Quertle, Praxis Aerospace Concepts and Haddington Dynamics are set to participate. The happy hour-style gathering includes mocktails from The Car Bar and coffee from The Coffee Press.

Year’s final 75th anniversary event

What: “Henderson Libraries: Celebrating 75 Years” lecture

Where: Nevada State College, 1300 Nevada State Drive

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 13

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