Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 2:11 PM
It’s hard to really quantify what the Central Library Innovation Studio is trying to accomplish in the region. In theory, the studio wants to provide cutting edge technology to the public at little to no cost. They also want to bring all corners of a diverse community together through a curiosty about technology and a thirst for information. In reality, Innovation Studio is doing all of these things and Saturday’s Grand Opening at the Central Library was just another step in that direction.
On a table in the front of the library was the event’s featured item, a 3-D printer. As people stood around the table, watching the printer hum as it worked on printing small plastic robot, a video played on a projector screen behind the table showing everything from clips of the popular TED talks to videos of the ways people have used the printers in the past.
Gabriel Morley, director of the Calcasieu Public Library, spent a portion of the event describing what the event means for the general public.
“Today is the grand opening of the innvovation studio. We’re unveiling the parishes first 3 d printer for the public. We also have a 3-D scanner that we’re demonstrating. Theyre going to on display right here at central library all week,” Morley said. “Well until wednesday. Then we’re going to take it sulphur for next weekend so on Friday and saturday and itll be on display in sulphur.”
The studio is also offering film editing software, animation software and a green screen for local residents looking to produce their own films. The Innovation Studio room in the library was designed by local graphic artist Erik Jessen.
The crowd at the event was diverse. From older couples standing off to the side of the table with curious looks to kids pulling their parents all the way to the front where the printer was humming, Morley described the librabry and studio as a place where people can let their curiosity get the best of them. He said he wants to spread the word that people can come, learn about the equipment and use it for their own personal projects.
“You dont want to make a mistake at school. You dont want to fail on the job. Where can you go to fail and try to be imaginative and try to be creative, here. That’s what this space is for,” Morley said as he picked up a plastic robot printed earlier in the day. “Come in here and try to make something, if that doesnt work, try something else. We’re going to help you. We have to have a place that’s okay to fail.”
Morley went on to say that the main gaol for the time being is to spread the word. He wants people to see what the library has to offer.
“We know worrd of motuh is whats going to drive this. If we have that core group of users, those early adopters, then theyll be able to say hey guess what the library has. They they ll tell somebody and theyll tell somebody else,” Morley said.
The first six months of printing on the machine will be free to the public. Depending on how the printer gets used, Morley said it may be free for the whole year. He said that the goal is to get people in and give them the opportunity to see what is offered and also making request for other things. The studio was funded by a grant through the Institue for Museum & Library Services. The library also used fiances for things like furniture and other mscellaneous items. Morley also mentioned how the there were financed palcced aside to pay for the technology locals may request down the road.
Clare Coleman, Central Library Branch Manager, is the driving foce behind the Innovation Studio. During the event, she spoke with visitors as they asked questions about the printer, scanner and what the studio is offering. Her ultimate goal is to encourage locals to be creative and to elarn about new cutting edge technologies. She wants people to know that yes, the Innovation Studio will provide new things in the library, but the change is nothing to be afraid of.
“A young man came in and wanted to talk to me about Innovation Studio. He wanted to make sure, he was upset because he wanted to make sure we werent getting rid of the books. He wanted to make sure the library wasnt going to be all technology,” Coleman said. “That’s not what’s happening. Libraries have always been the place people came because they might not have access to that equipment like a copy machine or a compuetr. Libraries have always had craft programs. We’re still making things. We’re just augmenting how we make them.”