The library as an incubator

There may have been a time when some might have scoffed at the idea of a library as a creator and not simply a neutral curator. Thankfully, that time is long past and one can take a look at public libraries across Indiana and see the visible change.

The most noticeable change in libraries has been physical. Many libraries across the state have already begun to renovate their spaces to accommodate more small meeting space and multi-use public space. Technology and electronic resources have also had a visible impact on these newly renovated physical spaces that serve not only as locations for learning and creative expression, but also as co-working spaces which blend commercial and creative output.

Here are just a few of the Hoosier public libraries who are promoting library creation and innovation:

Studio 304 Digital Media Lab | St. Joseph Co. Public Library

Studio 304 is equipped with tools and technology to create and produce in print, video and audio formats. The studio is designed for patrons 14 and older to inspire digital creativity.  The space features audio and video recording booths, as well as software and equipment for video and audio editing. The library even offers AV recording equipment for check-out for off-site use. Since opening, the space has been used to record a full length album and audio book. It’s relaxed atmosphere also makes it an ideal location for small meetings.

Digital Underground | Bartholomew County Public Library

The Digital Underground has given patrons access to a wide variety of digital creativity tools; tools that empower patrons to express their creativity in many different ways.  Record a song using the digital recording studio, create some album art using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and finish up by recording a music video using the green screen.  The sky is the limit as far as what you can do with the space and tools provided.

Level Up | Monroe County Public Library

Level Up is an all ages space that includes a video production studio with green screen, two audio production studios and digital creativity workstations for design, coding and editing. Level Up is a place for video and music production, graphic and web design and coding and game creation.

TekVenture | Allen County Public Library

TekVenture is somewhat special in that it was an independent organization before the Allen County Public Library gave it space to operate in a trailer, known as Maker Station, located across the street from the main library. Through this partnership, the makerspace was given a home to store equipment and tinker, and the library was provided access to members’ expertise and willingness to assist with programs. As this partnership grew, so did the organization and, even though their partnership continues to influence libraries across the globe, the organization has been housed in their own permanent downtown facility since 2015.

Haute Create | Vigo County Public Library

Haute Create is a dedicated space that offers access to state of the art technologies and innovative tools at the main branch of the Vigo County Public Library.

The space includes access to 3-D printers and a 3-D scanner; a wide-format printer; equipment for electronics and robotics work; a 75-inch SmartTV that allows for computers and software instruction for up to 12 people and other hardware and software tools which customers can use to create and explore.

The Portal | Tippecanoe County Public Library

Opened in 2012, Tippecanoe County Library’s Portal is a technology-rich center for learning, research, training, collaboration and content production. Visitors enjoy open space equipped with a combination of PCs, laptops and tablets. Patrons can use the space for digital creativity, or even as a co-working space.

The space also includes an audio/video conference suite, video recording equipment with green screen technology and equipment that allows one to preserve slides. Additionally, the Portal contains a language learning suite equipped with headphones and microphones for learning, listening and practicing foreign languages such as French, German and Japanese.

As libraries continue this trend, they will become synonymous with creation and innovation and not just curation. Indiana libraries are already well on their way.

This blog post was written by Amber Painter, southwest regional coordinator. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office (PDO) at (317) 232-3697 or via email.  

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