The McMaster Family Center for Lifelong Learning separates the Toledo-Lucas County Library from most other public libraries in the country.
An $850,000 donation from longtime local inventor and philanthropist Harold McMaster and his wife, Helen, helped equip the center with the latest technology so it can hold multimedia presentations, remote learning programs, and teleconferences.
The center is already a big hit with users even though the satellite dish won't be installed until later this summer, said Margaret Danziger, deputy director of the library system.
“Up until the spring, we've been using it mainly as a lecture hall,” Ms. Danziger said. “But people love it. It's such an unusual place to find in a public library. When we add all the technology, it will really set it apart.”
Ms. Danziger said the lobby area of the center has proven to be a popular spot for receptions, parties, and smaller programs.
The center mainly will be used for its state-of-the-art technology.
It takes cable television and satellite feeds. It is the local home of the Jason Project, which allows students to explore the world with scientists through a satellite hook-up.
The project, developed by Titanic discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard, is a remote-learning program that takes its name from the Greek hero, Jason, who in mythology was the first great explorer to sail the seas.
The Main Library hooked into the system this year as a noninteractive site and plans to spend $68,000 to become a fully interactive site this school year.
That would give the library a license to serve up to 15,000 students when Jason scientists turn their attention to geysers, glaciers, mud pots, and other volcanic spots in Iceland and Yellowstone National Park.
“Educators in northwest Ohio should not miss this opportunity to take their students to places they could never imagine while sitting in a classroom,” said Clyde Scoles, director of the library system. “The Jason Project is on the cutting edge in how it teaches students. It combines the Internet and the hands-on approach to learning that holds students' interest.”
The 275-seat auditorium is surrounded by the Civic Plaza on the rooftop of the Main Library's new wing.
The design of the center fully accommodates the use of information and presentation technologies.