On Saturday, October 1st the WLS team of Joe Maurantonio, Marcia MacNeill, Allison Midgley, and Allison Pryor had community engagement about the library online resources with 80+ community members at the Peekskill Fall Festival. The team even spent time chatting with several local non-profits with the hope of offering additional partnered events in 2023.
On Wednesday, September 21st Dana & Alejandra went to the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry for their morning food distribution. This was the first event for new bilingual trainer Alejandra, and she proved an enthusiastic member of the team! People were particularly interested in the GED Academy and the HSE program. A few participants came back after going through the food line to ask questions about where to go online to access info on the GED and what exactly they needed to bring with them in order to get their FREE library card.
On Saturday, September 17, the Mount Kisco SeptemberFest had a wonderful partnership between the Westchester Library System (WLS) and Mount Kisco Public Library (MKPL). Both engaged the event attendees offering information about how to get library cards and borrow materials like books, hotspots and Chromebooks. The table had nice gifts for visitors including brochures, bookmarks, flashlights, etc.
The MKPL team shared information about their programs while WLS discussed our online resources. A significant number of people went into the library to get a new library card or update their old one. Several people who don’t live in Westchester County were happy to learn that they could get a Mount Kisco Library card because they worked in the village.
On Wednesday, August 24th, we held the last in our four part series of Legislative Breakfasts at the Yonkers Public Library: Grinton I Will branch. Westchester County Executive George Latimer joined us alongside Assemblymember Nader Sayegh and County Legislator District 16 Christopher Johnson to hear all about the Digital Equity on the Road initiatives led by the eVan team at WLS.
Thursday, August 18 (2022). WLS presented at the Mount Vernon “Senior Citizens Conquering the Digital Divide” event. We spoke to over 104 attendees about the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP), Mount Vernon’s Loaner Chromebooks and Hotspots, FREE library cards, online resources, senior assistance and gave out nice reusable bags filled with WLS brochures. Mount Vernon Public Library was on hand to share details about their upcoming in-person programs and classes.
On Wednesday, August 10th, the third of four planned in a Legislative Breakfast series was held at the Harrison Public Library. The event had a great turnout with a representative from Senator Shelley Mayer’s office, Assemblymember for District 93 Chris Burdick, and Westchester County Legislative Vice Chair for District 6 Nancy Barr all in attendance alongside several neighboring Library Directors and members of the Harrison and WLS Library Boards. Breakfast was served inside while guests perused the table of fliers on display before hearing from the WLS Digital Equity on the Road team. Attendees were then offered a tour of Harrison Public Library’s outdoor garden space and the eVan itself.
On Tuesday, August 9th, in lieu of a traditional staff meeting, Joe Maurantonio and Dana Hysell set up the eVan with a tent and table to invite the staff to tour the van and look at the offerings provided by the digital equity on the road team. Lunch was served afterwards with a selection of savory offerings from Baked by Susan, a local bakery that has partnered with WLS to cater the series of Legislative Breakfasts. It was a wonderful opportunity for the staff to have some face time with one another and learn more about this important initiative.
On both Friday, July 29th and Thursday, August 4th, the eVan team dropped in at the Peekskill Youth Bureau to share information with the Feeding Westchester Mobile Food Pantry participants about the library and the many resources it can offer for free with a library card. On the first day one woman said after learning about our career coaching services at WLS, “I wasn’t going to stop to talk to you but it’s like a prayer was answered.” Over the 2 days over 60 bags were given out while talking to almost 100 people.
On Tuesday, August 2nd the WLS teams attended the National Night Out in both Yonkers and Peekskill.
“National Night Out” is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. The WLS Digital Equity team has connected with community partners and individuals which allowed for conversations about a broad range of service opportunities, including the loaning of Chromebooks and Hotpots. A topic of great interest is how a library card from a WLS member library can offer FREE access to services like Career Coaching, Westchester Breathes, Hoopla, Kanopy and Tutor.com.
July (2022). The Westchester Library System Digital Equity team attended several food distribution events during the month, connecting over a hundred families. With a new Bilingual member of our team, WLS was able to bridge the language gap to encourage visitors and their family members about local libraries’ offerings, the ACP, Chromebook loaners and streaming services. Please note, on a few occasions, families returned to get additional ACP info cards for their neighbors.
On Wednesday, July 27th the second Legislative Breakfast was held in beautiful Reis Park at the Somers Library. Members of the Somers Library Board of Directors and the WLS Board of Directors were in attendance alongside staff and patrons.
On Wednesday, July 13th the first Legislative Breakfast was held at the Croton Free Library. Croton Free Library Director Jesse Bourdon and three of his Board members enjoyed talking to the WLS eVan team about their digital equity initiatives. We were also joined by Assemblymember Sandy Galef (District 95) and several members of the WLS Board of Directors, including President Karen Zevin.
On Saturday, July 9th the WLS DE team was out at the Slater Center in White Plains for their Community Day Festival celebrating Essential Workers. Over 60 people were interacted with throughout the day.
On July 7th Joe Maurantonio took the new member of the DE team, our Bilingual Trainer, to a food distribution in Mount Vernon hosted by the Westchester Community Association to connect with visitors and their family members about local libraries’ offerings, the ACP, Chromebook loaners and streaming services. Of note were two families that returned to get additional ACP info cards for their neighbors. People enjoyed the bags and used them to transport their meals. 35 bags were given out among the 41 people interacted with.
On July 6th WLS was at Fred’s Pantry during their evening food distribution. Within the first
twenty minutes the team had given out 25 bags of information to participants and spoken about
WLS programs and services.
Sunday, June 5 (2022). The Westchester Library System Digital Equity team had a table at Westchester Pride. The event was presented by The Loft: LGBTQ+ Center in White Plains. It was a beautiful day to celebrate and share library resources with our Westchester community. WLS hired an artist to do quick sketches for all. WLS also raffled several WLS tote bags filled library swag and Pride Funko Pop. Congressman Jamaal Bowman stopped by for a photo op and Mayor Tom Roach chatted with us about White Plains area. Of particular interest was WLS’ free library card access to Hoopla. WLS connected with over 300 people.
On Wednesday, May 25th, WLS attended the final Salute to Seniors event at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, NY. The team was able to connect with over 130 participants where they found a lot of interest in lowering home internet costs and learning to use Chromebooks. Also, our team found that multiple vendors were interested in partnering with WLS.
On Wednesday, May 18th, WLS was at Salute to Seniors in Croton Point Park (Croton, NY) and successfully assisted approximately 90 people with information about affordable internet, Senior Law Day and using online resources.
On Wednesday, May 11th, WLS attended the second “Salute to Seniors” event at Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale where the weather was beautiful and drew a large crowd. WLS spoke and assisted over 117 people where there was great interest in the library systems’ “Netflix-like” offerings of Hoopla, Kanopy and Libby. WLS raffled off our new tote bags filled with goodies like a WLS umbrella, notepad, $10 gift card, hand sanitizer and free covid test kits to 5 lucky winners.
On Saturday, May 7th, WLS connected with over 400 people at the White Plains ComicFest (White Plains, NY). Each interaction centered around celebrating and sharing the wonderful things available through the libraries, both in-person and “streaming” online, for education and entertainment. Of particular note were the many families with young children who learned how they could find comics and graphic novels (in the library, online at Hoopla and ComicPlus app) which they could enjoy together while building fundamental literacy skills. From information about the libraries, to custom sketches drawn by our artist, to the free raffle of a donated hand-sculpted Moon Knight, a steady flow of happy people visited the WLS table.
The White Plains ComicFest was a wonderful chance for the Westchester Library System Digital Equity team to engage community members of all ages. The team met with hundreds of people to discuss the our online educational and entertainment apps. The WLS team had nice gifts for young readers in the form of masks and custom art sketches by Izzy Laureano. Of particular interest was WLS’ free library card access to ComicsPlus: Library Pass. Over 400 people visited the WLS table over the course of the day.
Quote from attendee Jelena Chiltern (White Plains) to WLS: “My family was thrilled with the event, and we are truly proud that the White Plains community appreciates pop art and provides our kids/students with these unique experiences. It was my pleasure meeting you and your amazing team!”
On Thursday, May 5th, WLS met with 15 families at Neighbors Link in Mount Kisco, NY. The short presentation shared how to get a library card, accessing affordable internet and that the local member library offers Chromebook loaners.
On Wednesday, May 4th – WLS participated in a “Salute to Seniors” event hosted by the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services in Yonkers at Sprain Ridge Park. Although the day was a bit cold and rainy, over 73 visitors stopped by to share library memories and learn about our new offerings. Several patrons were very interested to learn about the possibility of a Loaner Chromebook and/or Loaner Hotspots loan from their local library.
On Thursday, April 28th – WLS held a pop-up digital equity event in conjunction with IFCA Housing in Ossining. The joint event connected 56 individuals with information about the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP), online and local library resources as well as a free covid test kit courtesy of Westchester County Department of Emergency Services.