West End Regional Library on line for tech upgrade

West End Regional Library on line for tech upgrade

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Technology is improving a familiar West Kendall landmark.

The former West Kendall Regional Library, now the “West End” Regional Library, was renamed by Miami-Dade District 11 Commissioner Juan Zapata to better promote Kendall’s westernmost area as an economic and social engine.

A year after getting its new name in 2015, the library is expanding its existing computer services to incorporate the Miami-Dade Public Library System “YOUmake Miami” programming.

Nestled in the northeast corner of the Hammocks Shopping Plaza, the renamed library is revising its interior layout by clearing downstairs book stacks to provide space for increasing computer activity.

By early summer, the second “YOUmake Miami” location is scheduled to begin expanded services following the success of the first “Makerspace” lab at the Miami Beach Public Library, according to Ray Baker, assistant director for the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

The installation that includes various renovations and facility upgrades will occupy a large area of the first floor of the West End library. In addition, plans call for replacing the air conditioning system, new painting, flooring and furnishings.

Electrical work is planned with orders placed for equipment for installation by the end of May or early June.

The co-working space and computer training lab is designed to serve mobile entrepreneurs and job seekers with space to collaborate on business ideas.

Library users with laptops already accustomed to the free WiFi service will have a separate co-working computer-training lab with a wide range of services, including use of 30 desktop computers and 20 Surface Pro tablets.

The library will expand existing programs in coding, and 3-D printing, initiating classes that can include activities ranging from hands-on graphic design and video production to photography, jewelry making, sewing and even robotics.

The downstairs lobby of the 39,000-square-foot building opened in 1990 already offers a wide range of what library officials call “low tech” activities from story times for children of differing age groups to yoga classes.

“Improving the aesthetics of our buildings, as well as providing creative spaces and 21st Century activities for our customers is a priority for our library system,” said Gia Abrogast, director of the Miami Dade Library System. “We are excited about providing new learning opportunities and an enhanced library experience for the West End community.”

Located at 10201 Hammocks Blvd., the West End Library hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and noon-8 p.m. (Tuesday and Thursday). For information, call 305-385-7135.

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