City officials plan to use the Cablevision television studio located on Ellison Street to house a virtual library and an online school for drop-outs.
“We’re rolling out the first virtual library in the state of New Jersey right here in Paterson,” said mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, during his town hall meeting earlier in the week. “E-reading is the way to go.”
City Residents will be provided enhanced access to the digital offerings of the city’s library system, said library director Cindy Czesak. “It is an opportunity to promote to the residents the digital resources that they may access with a Paterson Library card — included are e-books, downloadable audio books, online magazine, job search information and much more,” said Czesak.
Czesak also provided a brochure listing the offerings of the virtual library among them access to over 2,000 newspapers national and international newspapers. Local newspapers like the Herald News and the Record can be read through the library’s portal as if reading the printed version of each.
The virtual library will naturally have a computer lab element. Czesak said an approximate number of computers to be located at the building has yet to be determined. She said high-speed internet access will be provided by the cable company.
Torres said the city will enter into an agreement with the Passaic County Community College to connect residents with the digital resources available at the college.
Residents will be able to utilize important research databases for which the library spends $20,000 annually, according to Czesak. “We are working to promote them because we know that many residents are not fully aware of what they may access,” she said.
The online school for drop-outs, Extended Learning Opportunity School, will also be run out of the cable studio, according to city officials. Officials said the school will allow high school students, who dropped out for one reason or another, to complete courses over the internet to ultimately obtain their general high school equivalence certificate.
“They are putting together an opportunity for a small number of students — who are really adults — to get their GED,” said Jonathan Hodges, school board president. He said about two dozen students will be enrolled into the online school which will also include an offline element. “They will meet with teachers on regular basis,” said Hodges.
Before the city can run a virtual library or have the school district operate a distance learning program out of the building, it must secure control from the cable company. Council members want further discussion before agreeing to take over the space from the cable company.