AUSTIN — When Austin Public library began accepting credit cards in April, the city’s public library system wasn’t exactly the first to embrace technology.
But now, it’s among the first in the nation.
In 2018, the APL opened its first technology hub at the end of the Green Building, a former hotel.
The library has more than 200 digital devices, including more than a dozen laptops, iPads and smartphones.
The technology department is also making strides in expanding its use of technology and technology-related learning.
The Austin Public Libraries’ technology hub, which is now located in the former Green Building building at 1715 University Ave., was designed to connect its technology department with the city and its communities.
The APL also began a series of initiatives to support community technology.
One of the initiatives is the creation of the APLAN (Advanced Technology Learning Network) program.
The program, which opened in June 2018, offers free access to technology courses from the APLAU, an organization that works to connect people from around the world to technology, business and science education.
It’s part of the broader APLAUR initiative, which also includes a number of programs aimed at bridging the digital divide.
Another initiative is the APLO (Austin Opportunities for Learning) program, a program for young people interested in learning about technology, technology jobs and the arts.
It offers free tech training for students of all ages.
The initiative was started by the APLI, a local group of students, faculty and community leaders.
The goal is to help students learn how to use technology in a way that encourages them to be innovators.
APLAN is a part of an overall initiative to connect Austin residents to the digital economy, including creating a citywide network of digital resources.
This year, the library also launched a new website, a blog and a mobile app that enable residents to access technology-oriented learning, such as digital maps and videos.
Technology experts said that this is a major development for the city.
The Austin Public libraries technology hub is a key example of the type of collaborative approach the city has embraced to help make the city the digital destination it wants to be.
“I think technology is a very important component of the future of the city,” said Paul Hildebrand, a senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Texas at Austin and author of “The Internet of Things: A Guide to the Emerging Internet of Everything.”
“Technology is an enormous catalyst to economic growth, and it’s a great way to help people connect and make connections.”
The APL is one of several public libraries in the country that have embraced technology, said Elizabeth Czernin, a technology consultant for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
She said libraries have a lot to offer the tech-savvy community.
“The APLAOU is a great example of a community-driven initiative that has taken advantage of a library’s technology hub to expand their offerings to the entire city,” she said.
“This was an effort that’s been a part and parcel of Austin for a long time.”
For more information on the APLC, visit www.austinslibrary.org.