Culture of learning brings air monitors to libraries

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Learning about the quality of the air you breathe should be as easy and inexpensive as borrowing a book from a library, and that’s why Carnegie Mellon University researchers have provided free Speck air quality monitors to 100 public libraries nationwide, including the East Bonner County Library District.

“Libraries are creating a culture of learning that extends far beyond books,” said Toby Greenwalt, director of digital strategy and technology integration at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where the pilot program was introduced. “By making Specks available in the library, we are helping to start a conversation around how to use data to make better decisions and be informed about home environmental health.”

Speck is designed for use indoors, helping users realize when polluted outside air is coming into the house, or to recognize pollution sources within the home. It is also Wi-Fi-con-nected, so air quality data can be uploaded for analysis and shared, if desired, via the Internet.

“We have too many communities where the air is hazardous from time to time, yet people can’t readily find out what they are breathing in their own homes,” said Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics and head of the CREATE Lab, which develops innovative robotic technologies for the public good. “This is the air quality you can actually do something about — if you know that a hazard even exists. That’s why it is so important that people of all income levels have access to a sensor such as Speck.”

Several Speck sensors are now available for check-out from the Sandpoint and Clark Fork branches as well as the Bookmobile. For information about Speck sensors visit www.specksensor.com.

Visit the Sandpoint and Clark Fork branch libraries, the Bookmobile and ebonnerlibrary.org for resources that inform and inspire. The following classes and events take place at the Sandpoint Branch, 1407 Cedar, unless otherwise indicated.

• Saturday, Sept. 3 — Beginner class on computer basics, 8:15 a.m. sharp. Intimidated by your lack of experience with computers? Get friendly with the keyboard, mouse and basic computer usage in a supportive setting. Preregistration required; call 263-6930.

• Saturday, Sept. 3 — Idaho Writers’ League, 9 a.m. Network with local writers at the Sandpoint Chapter of the state writers’ organization. All welcome.

• Saturday, Sept. 3 — Friends of the Library book sale, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Shop for great deals on books and media.

• Tuesday, Sept. 6 — Mother Goose, 10:15 a.m.; story/singing program for children ages 0 to 3 and their caregivers.

• Tuesday, Sept. 6 — Preschool Storytime, 11 a.m.; for children ages 2 to 5 and their caregivers.

• Tuesday, Sept. 6 — Make It at The Library, 2 p.m. Teens, kids and families create with robotics, Arduinos, needlework, Legos and other projects.

• Wednesday, Sept. 7 — Clark Fork Stories and More, 10:30 a.m. East Bonner County Library Clark Fork branch. Stories, crafts, prizes and snacks for kids ages 3-8.

• Wednesday, Sept. 7 — Make It at The Library (CF), 2 p.m., East Bonner County Library Clark Fork branch, 601 Main St. Kids make a variety of age-appropriate crafts.

• Wednesday, Sept. 7 — Clark Fork 3D printing workshop for adults, 4 p.m. A hands-on workshop for beginners discussing 3D printers, technology and design. Event held at East Bonner County Library Clark Fork branch, 601 Main St. Space is limited. Preregistration required; call 266-1321.

• Wednesday, Sept. 7 — Sandpoint Photo Club, 5 p.m.. Learn and share with other photographers.

• Friday, Sept. 9 — Teen Writers Club, 3 p.m. Collaboration, peer reviews and brainstorming activities for young writers. Writing supplies and refreshments provided.

• Saturday, Sept. 10 — Beginner Computer Class on Internet basics, 8:15 a.m. sharp. The amount of information on the Internet is staggering. Learn how to sift through it safely and efficiently. Preregistration required; call 263-6930.

• Saturday, Sept. 10 — Basic astronomy, 1 p.m. Astronomer Dale Nichols will talk about celestial objects, viewing equipment and more to encourage budding astronomers to discover the fascinating field of astronomy.

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