The Las Vegas–Clark County Library District (LVCCLD) is the largest library system in the state of Nevada. We have 25 branches across 8,000 square miles representing 2,000,000 citizens from whom we get nearly 3,000,000 visits per year. We are not only excited to be able to offer the Socrates product to our users, but we are also extremely proud of what it is doing. for them since we introduced this service in August of 2018. We are so happy to offer this we have recommended the service to other libraries so that they may offer this superb learning tool to their patrons, as well.
Prior to moving to Las Vegas, I was the Executive Director of the Shreve Memorial Library System in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the Director of the Green Gold Library System consisting of 12 parishes in northwest Louisiana. In addition, I was Director of the Frisco Public Library in Frisco, Texas, and Executive Director of the Omaha Public Library in Omaha, Nebraska. In addition, I have been an adjunct faculty member at Texas Woman’s University since 1991.
As you know, we can look around us at almost any time and see people who are visually buried in their smart phones. In a digitally–oriented culture, where kids would rather be gaming than going to school, we have witnessed the benefits of offering games from which kids can learn essential educational skills. While society is becoming more digitally focused, it would serve us all to remember that the digital divide still exists. Nearly 46 percent of Clark County residents have no access to the Internet. For those folks who want to cross that divide, the Library District is their best (and, in many cases, their only) resource.
As I speak to local community groups, I have been approached repeatedly by parents who are thankful we are helping their kids advance with their educational skills. In every case, they are happiest about Socrates. We have over 800 dedicated users for Socrates as opposed to fewer than 500 for our many other educational resources, many of which have been available for a number of years. Even some of our homeless patrons have started using Socrates in our libraries to advance their educational skills.
Socrates is a much better investment than many of the other products we have licensed in the past and we are committed to having it in our libraries for the foreseeable future. We appreciate the team who designed it and we appreciate the National Science Foundation for the grant which made it possible. We sincerely hope the NSF will consider an additional grant to help this product grow and to continue impacting our educational system. As the gaming is stepped up from lower elementary school to middle school, we excitedly anticipate the growth it will bring to our usage numbers. All the while, the kids who use it are having fun while they learn. What more could we ask?
Ronald R. Heezen, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Clark County Library District Las Vegas