2019 PLP Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant Recipients

To connect with any of the below Innovation and Technology grant recipients please email info@plpinfo.org

Alameda Free Library’s replication of the very successful “Librarians Unleashed” project will use Wi-Fi enabled iPads and wireless barcode scanners to allow library staff to assist patrons anywhere inside the library with questions, checkout, and library card registrations. When paired with a Wi-Fi enabled hotspot, this setup becomes a truly mobile point of service that can be used anywhere in the community. Schools, senior centers, community events, and local parks can all become library service locations. This project will enable library staff to provide library services to as many community members as possible, not just those who are able to visit one of the library branches.

Hayward Public Library
Branchlet Program

The Hayward Public Library (HPL) has a strong commitment to providing services to our most vulnerable residents, including low-income renters, foreign-born immigrants with limited English-speaking skills, and families with children under the age of 5. We provide a variety of programs at our Downtown and South Hayward libraries and at schools and other locations in Hayward, including bilingual programs (in Spanish and Chinese) and English Conversation Circles. In 2019-20, the HPL proposes an expansion of its mobile services with community-supported “branchlets,” based on the success of the Monterey County Free Library Branchlet program. We propose this pilot program will establish 10 branchlets utilizing Little Free Library book sheds, which will be placed in Hard-to-Count (HTC) census tracts, where fewer residents have active library accounts. We will offer access to free books, pop-up library services at block parties conducted during the peak of Census 2020 promotion (March-May 2020), and information about library and local social services. We will work in partnership with the Chabot College Student Initiative Center, which has a decade-long history of assisting students who are developing passion-based projects to improve their campus and communities. We will also partner with local agencies that are active in the Hayward Promise Neighborhood program. We will expand awareness of library services while promoting delivery of and sharing of books in neighborhoods. The Branchlet program will provide services to residents who have limited access to transportation, which inhibits access to Hayward libraries.

This project will use grant funds to purchase Story Center’s Listening Station, an iPad recording station and app that would enable both the tutors and learners of the Literacy Program to create a short video documenting a personal story that has had significant impact on their life. Participants will be interviewed either by their respective tutor or learner, staff, or volunteer. Every other year, Literacy Plus puts out a collection of learner writings, and this would serve as a digital, oral version of that project. Staff would provide a training for interested participants, as well as prompts for interview questions and guidelines for best practices. Each project participant would receive a copy of their digital story for personal use, and selected videos would be chosen to be showcased at a screening as the culmination of the project. With the permission of participants, videos may also become part of the library archives to be used for marketing, outreach, training or other purposes in the future

Cut It Out: Laser cutting services and instruction at the Los Gatos Library

Desktop laser cutters are highly versatile and relatively simple pieces of equipment that allow users to create detailed cuts or engravings in a wide variety of materials such as wood, cardboard and plastics. Through growing increasingly popular, their high price point for the average consumer makes access to them prohibitive. The Los Gatos Library plans to offer laser cutting services to patrons by purchasing two laser cutters that would be used for individual self-serve patron use.  Instructional workshops will be offered to teach patrons the basics of using the technology. We also plan to incorporate the laser cutters into our established STEAM programs for youth.

The Library proposes creating a self-contained virtual reality program cart. The cart would contain all of the equipment necessary for users to experience virtual reality software. We think that the appeal of a virtual reality cart would enable us to interest teens in a pilot coding club program. The exposure to virtual reality technology could serve as a stepping stone to careers in technology, science, and coding.

Mountain View Public Library will use grant funding to purchase hardware and software for the creation of a Lifelong Learning Lab. Four laptop computers will be purchase and loaded with the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs as well as QuickBooks Pro. The public can use these programs to design a logo for their business, edit photographs to preserve personal memories, and create invoices for billable services. A subscription to the KnowledgeCity online learning platform will allow individuals to develop a better understanding of how to use these software products and further develop additional business, computer, safety, compliance, and finance skills. We will also purchase a DSLR camera with accompanying equipment to teach photography, videography, take headshots, and film practice interviews. This Lab space will provide access to new software and concepts not currently available in the library that have a price-point that prevents access for many individuals. Due to the mobile nature of the equipment, we can also take the Lab outside of our brick and mortar location to offer these types of classes in conjunction with our bookmobile services or during outreach opportunities.

Oakland Public Library
Recycle a Bicycle at Your Library

For more than ten years, Oakland Public Library (OPL) has supported and promoted biking through fix-it clinics, workshops with local bike advocacy organization Bike East Bay, bicycling story times and other programming. The library offers pumps and locks for patron use at all locations. OPL also utilizes bikes and bike trailers for outreach efforts. To further promote increased bike use in Oakland, and to encourage the use of low-stress routes and affordable bike transportation to access our library branches, we seek a $15,000 Pacific Library Partnership Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant. OPL would use this grant to offer more bike tools for checkout, and to provide Earn-A-Bike programs (“Recycle a Bicycle”) for adults in East Oakland through a partnership with Cycles of Change, a community-based bicycle education organization. Cycles of Change offers beginners’ ride safety training, advanced bicycle adventures, bicycle restoration workshops, and environmental science programs in the East Bay, and the organization has proven curriculum sets already in place. OPL staff have an established, ongoing relationship with this community-based organization through regular bike donation drives and will assist in curriculum refinement. Recycle a Bicycle participants will learn basic bike riding and maintenance skills, get personalized route and riding guidance, and – upon successful completion of the program -- earn a refurbished used bike, helmet, lock, and lights. Participants will also have the opportunity to teach the next cohort of participants, as we further refine the curriculum and dynamically shape the Recycle a Bicycle program.

Pacific Grove Public Library
Self-Service and Outreach Laptops

The Pacific Grove Public Library is beginning a remodeling project in October 2019 that is anticipated to run through August 2020. These renovations ‐‐ the first since 1981 – will make the library more modern and more welcoming. A critical part of this project is replacing 6 desktop public access PCs with 12 new laptop computers. These laptops PCs will increase the total number of public access computers available at the Library and will make the PCs more easily accessible to patrons through a self‐service kiosk from Laptops Anytime. In addition, the laptops will enable the Library to provide technology training classes for underserved and elderly populations in our community both in and outside of the Library.

The Pleasanton Public Library would like to extend access to eBooks across the city using mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi connectivity in four strategic locations: Axis Community Health, the Dolores Bengston Aquatic Center, the Pleasanton Senior Center, and City paratransit vehicles. Visitors to these four locations could experience a “Digital Pop-Up” from the library while they are waiting for health care, using the pool, riding a paratransit vehicle or visiting the Senior Center. Users connecting to Wi-Fi at these locations would see a splash page “pop up”, giving the option to “Read eBooks” or “Access Wi-Fi”. Digital pop-ups at high-traffic locations throughout the city would enhance the Library’s newly launched “Pop-Up Program” initiative which extends services into the community of Pleasanton with the purposeful engagement of segments of the population that may not utilize library services such as working adults, senior citizens, 20 to 30-year-olds, and the city’s Spanish-speaking community.  Digital pop-ups would introduce a technology component of the library’s pop-up programs to underserved and new library users.

Redwood City Public Library
Library Bike Stop

Shifting transportation trips from cars to alternate modes such as walking and cycling can have positive impacts on communities’ traffic, public health, environment, and overall quality of life.  The Redwood City Public Library will support efforts to encourage more cycling in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks by replicating previous PLP grants that added infrastructure and resources to make the libraries an inviting destination for cyclists of all ages, incomes, and skill levels.  Repair tools, loanable locks, and interactive programming will encourage both novice and experienced cyclists to view the RCPL as a welcoming environment that supports their needs.  By helping to normalize cycling within the community, the library will contribute momentum to a shift away from automobile travel.

San Benito County Free Library
Gavilan College Textbook Lending Program

This project would allow the San Benito County Free Library to purchase and lend textbooks for all Gavilan College courses held at the Briggs Building in Hollister, California (approximately 55 classes per semester). The main Gavilan College campus and Gavilan College Library are located in Gilroy, California, approximately 20 miles from the San Benito County Free Library and the Briggs Building.  The San Benito County Free Library would like to purchase 3 copies of each textbook and lend them on a short-term, library-use-only basis, similar to the course reserves system used in many college and university libraries.

San Jose Public Library
Secure Charging at SJPL

San José Public Library (SJPL) will install and maintain five ChargeTech 8-bay cell phone charging lockers at library branches in high need areas of San José. These secure public device charging stations will provide safe, reliable access to phone charging, thereby ensuring that library users have access to communication. These charging stations are unique in that they allow the user to secure their phone in a locked compartment while it is charging. Currently SJPL users plug in their phones and other devices wherever they find a power outlet, often leaving their phones unattended and vulnerable to theft. Library users who are unstably housed or experiencing homelessness often have no other place to charge their phone, cutting them off from emergency communication and information. Students also need a safe place to charge their phones, so they have reliable access.

The goal of this project is to develop and implement a mobile internet Hotspot lending program in an effort to close the digital gap.  The program will make Hotspots available for loan to Skyline College students through the Library to support success in accessing digital course materials (Zero Textbook Cost, Open Educational Resources and Inclusive Access) and online courses. Reliable and consistent internet service is crucial for supporting equity and student success in a digital learning world. The assumption that 21st century students have consistent and reliable internet access is false. As we move toward increasing digital course materials and online courses, low-income students or students facing housing insecurities, do not have internet service off-campus. Hotspots would be available for 7-days loan periods or longer. Our project would educate, engage, and empower Skyline College students with tools they need to succeed in a digital learning world.