Library unveils brain-enhancing tools, Wi-Fi hot spot rentals

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 13, 2017

The Sterling Heights Public Library is hoping to boost brainpower and wireless internet access for its patrons with the help of two new programs.

At a Sept. 5 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, Library Director Tammy Turgeon talked about her facility’s Exercise Your Brain program, along with the new circulation of Wi-Fi hot spots for residents.

Library officials are trying to make it easy for residents to use special brain software to train their brains. The brain software, called BrainHQ, is free for library cardholders and is designed to offer brain activities via internet-accessible devices that conform to the user’s skill level.

The technology is geared to particularly assist local seniors, but it can benefit everyone, Turgeon said. She said research has shown that certain mental exercises can reduce long-term dementia risk almost by half.

Turgeon explained that exercising at the gym is much more popular today than it was 50 years ago, and likewise, mental exercises could take off as a trend.

“Brain fitness is the next step in that revolution,” Turgeon said. “Just as you can exercise your abs and quads, you can exercise your memory and attention.”

Turgeon said the library’s Exercise Your Brain activities are scheduled to run through June 2018. Besides the software, the library has scheduled events and activities to supplement brain stimulation. A puzzle competition, meditation and more will be offered, Turgeon said. People who participate in the affiliated events may enter drawings to win gift cards, she added.

The other program the library is spotlighting is the lending of 10 Wi-Fi hot spot devices.

This will allow borrowers to have wireless internet at home for seven days.

The device comes with a carrying case and a power cord, and it may connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, Turgeon said. Data is unlimited, but speed will slow down after a set amount of data is used. She said the library could expand the program if usage demands it.

“This service bridges the digital divide for those that cannot afford internet access and want to work on homework, access different areas of their interest or apply for a job,” she said.

Jason Groth, the library’s public relations and programs coordinator, said the library’s brain training program has been running since July, and the program has had around 93 participants. Groth said another season of brain-themed programming is taking place this fall.

“In October, there is a de-stressing seminar,” Groth said. “Music is one of the things that has been known to cause improvements in brain health, so we have our Beatles Forever program coming Oct. 26, and that one we’re going to have a local author. … That’s going to be in tandem with a live band doing those Beatles songs.”

Groth said he has heard that some people are excited for the Wi-Fi hot spot checkouts, but warned that they might have to persistently inquire to obtain them.

“We don’t allow them to be placed on hold, so they will be first come, first served,” he said.

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Public Library, 40255 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights, by visiting www.shpl.net or by calling (586) 446-2665.