West Haven’s library system had two major upgrades facilitated by a local and state infusion of funds. The local volunteer organization, Friends of the West Haven Library, assisted in hooking the agency up to a new database that will aid students and veterans, while a cash grant from the state helped make some improvements.
The library now offers three new digital services that began Feb. 1 on the website: westhavenlibrary.org. Thanks to assistance from the Friends of the West Haven Public Library, databases are now available for two key groups in West Haven, students, and veterans. The third digital option is the New York Times.
Two of these databases offer help to both K-12 students with HelpNow and Veterans with VetNow.
With HelpNow, K-12 students receive live tutoring help in math, science, reading/writing, social studies and state standardized tests. 24-hour writing lab will respond when essays and other forms of writing are submitted for feedback. Tutors are available via live chat from 2p-11p every day.
Using VetNow, Veterans interact with live tutors in many subjects and support with state and standardized tests. Live resume assistance, skills-building and 24-hour writing lab are offered as well. There is also non-English language lab and Spanish-speaking support.
Another newly available database is to the New York Times online. West Haven patrons now have access to the digital New York Times with multimedia storytelling with videos, podcasts, interactive infographics, photos, movie documentaries as well as an archive content back to 1851. The Book Review is included as well as “The Learning Network” which offers teaching tools for people of all ages. The digital New York Times is displayed in three languages: English, Spanish and Chinese.
“The library encourages West Haven residents to make use of these databases. All of these new services along with many others are available with your library card,” said Library Director Colleen Bailie.
Meanwhile, West Haven library was pleased in November of 2020 to receive $60,330 for building capacity in the library. The money was used to make some improvements to library facilities in order to deal with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
In making the announcement, Gov. Ned Lamont said libraries have a role in helping residents learn about proper use of computer data resources as well as other learning tools.
“Libraries offer critical services for the public, including reliable Wi-Fi, access to computers and laptops, supportive learning materials and resources, and librarians who are trained in helping residents access key services,” said Lamont. “Most importantly, libraries provide safe and quiet spaces for people to work and study, which is critical to many people who do not have the environment to do this at home. Especially during this difficult time, libraries and the work of so many generous librarians have played a critical role in supporting K-12 and post-secondary students with remote learning.”
West Haven’s funds were used to purchase cleaning supplies and PPE for the staff and patrons for the remainder of the fiscal year, for a deep clean of the Main Library and Ora Mason, standing sanitizer station placed throughout the library, and glass barriers at all circulation desks for the safety of the public and the staff. In addition, new furniture was purchased and two private study carrels were added to the lower level of the Main Library, that will be available via appointment for study use.
“This funding will go a long way towards assisting the library in staying open safely for the public,” Bailie, director of the library stated. This funding will allow the library to expand on its basic level of service to ensure that everyone who needs to utilize our facilities has the ability to do so.