Monday, April 19, 2021 City of Arlington, Office of Communication

Residents’ access to Wi-Fi and technology has been expanded thanks to the Innovation Zone at the recently opened East Library and Recreation Center in east Arlington.

At The East, residents can access public computers for free with a library card and print, copy, fax, and scan for a small fee. Adults can check out Chromebooks from the laptop dispenser for use in the building during their visit. iPads, with Osmo education software and complementing activities, are available for the children in both the children’s areas of the Library and the Recreation Center. Or, they can make a reservation to use a high-tech public rooms or study rooms to meet and gather.

An additional amenity in this new facility are the outdoor pods with a full complement of power and connectivity to enjoy working or meeting outside. Other technology-based activities include resources such as Kindles with a collection of e-books, Leap Frog tablets, 3D Pens, 3D printer, and Sphero robots. A unique feature in this new facility is the Lu Vue Giant Interactive Playground, which encourages youth to be active and enhances learning through lights, sounds and video.

In addition to all the resources already mentioned, younger patrons can also participate in bilingual story times and dynamic programming that includes exploring STEAM concepts. Youth are also able to explore technology through Discovery Stations and access homework resources as well as educational games through designated children’s computers. There are also a complement of adult computer classes and adult education opportunities.

State Representative Chris Turner helped secure a $750,000 Texas Library and Archives Commission grant for the library's Innovation Zone. This grant allowed Arlington to expand internet availability, create a tech-centered community indoor and outdoor space, and increase the technological capabilities within the building. The Innovation Zone is a positive step forward to increasing access to unique technology experiences and bridging the digital divide in East Arlington.

The 46,249-square-foot facility, located at 1817 New York Ave., is the City’s first joint library and recreation center. Arlington voters approved $26 million for the facility, which replaced the former Hugh Smith Recreation Center and the former East Branch Library, in the 2014 Bond Election.