Austin Public Library: Tech-infused programs abound at Austin Public Library

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Eric Christians

Technology Coordinator

Greetings Austin and surrounding communities. My name is Eric Christians and I am the technology coordinator at Austin Public Library. It’s wonderful to be back in Austin and offering my expertise and knowledge at the library.

Email newsletter signup

A little bit about me … I graduated from Riverland Community College in the mid 90s in TV Production and worked for KAAL-TV as a news photographer and editor and as a Commercial Services Producer before migrating to KTTC/FOX47 in Rochester. After my stint in local television, I returned to college and gained my elementary teaching license and spent eight years as a K-5 Technology Teacher at a rural Dodge County Elementary teaching computer science, keyboarding, coding and robotics. Looking for new opportunities and adventure, I accepted my current position at Austin Public Library little more than a year ago. Besides having a rather techy work background, I was also Cub Scout/Boy Scout Adult Leader for 10 years and enjoy several hobbies and interests like homebrewing, gardening, outdoor sports with my son, cooking and traveling with my soon-to-be wife, Hannah.

Being a Technology Coordinator at Austin Public Library is quite the opportunity where I can use my technology skills and expertise to help not only the staff but the patrons as well. One example is Tech Tutoring; where I have designated times available to sit with patrons and help them get to know their devices or figure out why something may have run afoul with an app. The library also has updated and added new tech features to the library such as a privacy meeting room with laptop for appointments and a how-to interactive display of the Libby App to assist with the needs of today’s library patrons.

Utilizing my S.T.E.A.M and Technology teaching background, I am offering new tech-infused programs at APL. Our CreaTECH program offers upper elementary and middle school age kids an opportunity to discover what is inside different devices, dismantle and reuse them to create beautiful works of art. Partnering with Mower County 4-H Extension Office, we are offering a monthly STEAMLab 4-H Adventures where kids ages 8-15 can learn about different science and math principles with fun hand-on activities and projects.

The library has tech-infused adult programs as well like our “Parent’s Guide To” presentations that give parents an overview of and recommendations for popular social media apps their kids are using. I am also offering hands-on/small group tech learning programs for adults who may want to brush up on their computer skills or gain a better understanding about a specific program/app. Lastly, to spark a little family fun, I also offer Digital Trivia Evenings at the library where individuals and groups compete to answer specific themed trivia using their digital devices instead of writing down answers on paper.

Coming up at Austin Public Library: April 9, from 4-5 p.m. is the CreaTech Take Apart Art Class (sign up required). Test your boy band knowledge on April 11 from 5-6 p.m. with Digital Trivia Evening.

Look for these and many other programs that Austin Public Library offers each month on