Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum secured $50,000 to establish a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) laboratory at the Great Neck Library during the Aug. 6 meeting of the Nassau County Legislature.
“We’re very excited about receiving the grant,” said Great Neck Library Director Denise Corcoran. “We’re hoping to create a space where people can imagine and dream—that’s where all great inventions come from.”
The Community Revitalization Program (CRP) grant will be used to purchase laptops, virtual-reality systems, 3D printers, Wacom tablets, gaming computers and a smart TV, according to Birnbaum. But, since technology changes so quickly, Corcoran is apprehensive to specify exactly what equipment will be purchased.
“At this time, we are planning what the lab will encompass as far as types of equipment and what we will have for the community to use,” said Corcoran. “We want to make sure that we have cutting-edge equipment. We’re reevaluating our purchases to make sure that we have the latest technology and want to make sure we have a broad spectrum of technology, instead of focusing on one area. We want to make sure that we offer a variety of services, equipment and programming.”
According to Birnbaum, these devices will be used for instruction geared toward children, adults and seniors on subjects such as graphic design, 3D printing, 3D design, video-game development, coding, website design and basic computer skills.
“We are hoping to make this lab available to the entire community,” said Corcoran, who explained that the staff is very excited about learning how to operate the new technology, so they can assist patrons in using the high-tech equipment.
“Expertise in the STEM fields better prepares our young people for fulfilling careers, allows adults to enhance their knowledge and empowers seniors to take advantage of the latest technological opportunities,” said Birnbaum. “I thank my colleagues for supporting this important project and look forward to the creation of a cutting-edge community resource for all ages.”
The lab, which Corcoran hopes will open in the next few months, will be located at the Main Branch of Great Neck Library and will be available to all Nassau County residents with a valid library card.
“We’re really grateful to have received this grant,” said Corcoran.