Brownwood library receives CARES grant for technology

Special to the Bulletin
From left, Tori, Cora and Tom Byrd play with LaunchPads in the library.

Brownwood Public Library was recently awarded a CARES grant, made possible through funding to Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The library said in a press release:

The grant allows the library to support the Brown County community as we recover from the effects of coronavirus. The funding is being used in a variety of areas, including lendable hot spots, virtual tutoring, and lendable technology.

Hot Spots

The library is now circulating 34 hot spots. These devices allow library patrons to take the Internet with them, allowing people to connect to the Internet from anywhere within the T-Mobile network. Simply turn on the hot spot and find the hot spot on your computer, phone or tablet’s wifi settings. This has been a great resource for users including students working from home, employees on self-quarantine and those who want to access Internet on a road trip and more.

Live, Virtual Tutoring

Another new service offered by the library is live, virtual tutoring, provided through a service called Brainfuse. Patrons of all ages access real-time assistance through the intuitive Brainfuse online classroom. Brainfuse tutors are trained to not provide answers, but to help users master a problem’s underlying academic concepts. Brainfuse offers tutoring and homework help services in Spanish for all subjects offered in English.

Brainfuse also includes the writing lab. Patrons can access writing assistance in a way that works best for them. Through live writing help, patrons work in real-time with a tutor on brainstorming, revising, or more. Our intensive writing lab allows patrons to submit a paper to receive instructive and thoughtful analysis in 24 hours.

SkillSurfer contains a comprehensive library of proprietary practice tests. When a user takes a SkillSurfer test, Brainfuse instantly prepares a skill-by-skill learning plan, including recommendations for targeted tutoring. Supported tests include:

The new SAT; ACT; the new GED; TASC (a GED alternative test); HiSet (a GED alternative test); ASVAB; TOEFL; TOEIC; US Citizenship Test; College Placement Test Preparation.

Adult Learning Center is the adult learners’ version of HelpNow. Patrons can access high school equivalency prep, US Citizenship test prep, resume assistance, and Microsoft Office support. The writing lab and skills building are also included in the Adult Learning Center.

Borrow a Kindle

The Brownwood Library is part of a consortium of nearby libraries that purchase and share eBooks and digital audiobooks. With your library card, you have access to more 13,000 ebooks and 2,500 digital audiobooks. For people who don’t have a tablet or other device for reading or listening to a book, they can borrow a Kindle Fire to read the eBook or listen to the digital audiobook.

Borrow Tablets for Children

The library is also adding 8 Launchpads to the collection. These themed tablets are intended for children in pre-Kindergarten up to about 2nd grade. Kids learn valuable skills, such as STEAM, alphabet, reading, math, etc., as they play on the Launchpads.

Pre-loaded with content for kids, designed with a simple, easy-to-use interface, and 100 percent secure, Launchpad tablets are made to be passed from one set of hands to the next. No download time. No need for Wi-Fi.

Employment Workshops

Finally, the library teamed up with nationally-recognized resume-review service Let’s Eat, Grandma, out of Austin, Texas. These career experts created a series of four workshops to help job seekers put their best foot forward.

This workshop series was already presented virtually in 2020. Workshops include Resume Reboot, Rock Your LinkedIn Profile, Network on LinkedIn & Land the Job, and Land More Interviews with Fewer Applications. Check out the library Facebook page for the announcement of when we will again be offering this as an in-person workshop.

All of this is available with your library card. Stop by the library to find out more about any of these services. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Texas State Library and Archives Commission (Grant #LS-246561-OLS-20) (2021)