“Where Do Public Libraries Fit in NYC's Tech Skills-Building Ecosystem?”
A Center for an Urban Future (CUF) Policy Symposium
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
@ General Assembly HQ, 902 Broadway, 4th Floor
(between E. 20th Street & E. 21st Street)
With Amazon coming to Queens and New York's tech economy booming, demand for homegrown tech talent has never been higher. But to meet this demand while helping a much broader base of New Yorkers access well-paying technology careers, the city will need to ensure that many more residents can develop foundational digital skills and gain hands-on experience with technology. This forum will explore the role public libraries should play in meeting this challenge.
Although the city is home to several excellent nonprofit and for-profit tech training providers, New York’s 200-plus branch libraries offer a unique opportunity to teach digital skills at a far larger scale. But what is the ideal role for libraries in the city’s tech training ecosystem? Many branches offer basic digital literacy and computer skills programs, but are there opportunities to connect those who complete introductory programs at libraries with more intensive tech training programs offered elsewhere? What more should libraries be doing to introduce young people to computational thinking, build awareness of technology career paths, and help adults acquire the digital skills needed for today’s economy?
The forum featured a panel discussion and a response from the city's three library systems, followed by ideas from the audience. Speakers included:
Claire Cuno, Director of Youth & Support Services, Per Scholas
Tom Ogletree, Director of Social Impact, General Assembly
Hicham Oudghiri, Co-founder and CEO, Enigma
Evin Robinson, Co-founder, New York on Tech
David Giles, Chief Strategy Officer, Brooklyn Public Library
Tara Lannen-Stanton, Director of Adult Learning, Queens Library
Luke Swarthout, Director of Digital Policy, New York Public Library
This symposium is made possible thanks to generous support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation. The Center for an Urban Future receives general operating support from The Clark Foundation, the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation, and Altman Foundation.