The Capital Area District Library Foster branch, located at the Foster Community Center in Lansing’s east side neighborhood, is getting some sweet new digs. A new computer lab is now available at the library, and it will be utilized to provide STEAM-based education programs for kids and offer access to a number of important services for adults and seniors that require an Internet connection.
The section of the community center where the new lab is located was previously being used by ITEC-Lansing, an organization that helps jumpstarts students in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education programs. With ITEC going defunct as a nonprofit in 2019 and leaving its space in the building vacant, CADL sought to prevent this important resource from going to waste by renovating the space and bringing in computers to further much of the same learning goals for local children as ITEC.
“We already knew a lot of that programming and our missions were similar. It’s kind of a continuation of what ITEC was offering in that space,” CADL executive director Scott Duimstra said.
The new computer lab was actually slated to open up to the public in 2020, but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The delay gave CADL extra time to give the space a fresh coat of paint and bring in new desks and computer equipment, including new laptops.
“There are two classrooms. One will have desktop computers and laptops, and the other is kind of an open classroom environment,” Duimstra said. “Right now, we have a drop-in classes where somebody can come in and use the computers and we have after-school STEAM activities for kids.”
Starting in early-2022, the Foster Computer Lab will host numerous themed activities that will cater to younger students. These include nights where kids can meet up to play the popular computer game Minecraft, evenings where escape room games will be set up in the library and, of course, several educational technology programs.
For adults, the Foster Computer Lab will be offering multiple drop-in sessions where people can come use the computers to take care of their online needs, as well receive instructions on how to use different important computer programs. The lab will be collecting feedback from the public as it decides what instructive computer-based classes to schedule for the public.
“I see the Foster Computer Lab as a continuation of ITEC’s work: STEAM-focused programs, not only for the east side of Lansing, but all of Lansing as well. This is open to pretty much everybody in our service area. This classroom will allow us to have creative programs outside of the technology focus as well,” Duimstra said.
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