medialab update

Six people came to my “convert VHS to DVD” class yesterday, four of whom I’d never seen before. A few teens are using the medialab stuff. Slowly, slowly people become aware of the stuff being offered in the library. It’s not quite “build it and they will come” unfortunately. Somehow I need to make people aware that this stuff is here, and that it’s fun/useful to use it.

I’m working on a grant right now to get more makerspacey stuff: 3d printer, sewing machine, screen printing machine and painting supplies. I hope I can get this moving.

As for the older teens in my town: WTF? Are you telling me there’s SO MUCH to do in this tiny town, that you never even consider using the library? Hellooooooo, anyone out there? Why can I not get anyone over the age of 15 in the library? Do you flee the town as soon as you get your licenses?

(Can’t say I blame you, I was a teen in a small rural town–but mine didn’t have an awesome library filled with cool tech toys and rad programs.)

Didn’t-Even-Graduate-High-School-I-Was-So-Desperate-To-Leave, Illinois



My new library is fabulous. Not only is it a gorgeous, people-centered space (as opposed to the book/stuff-centered look of most libraries), but the people who work there and on the board are fabulous. We’re starting work on our medialab, much like the fabulous Skokie Library’s.

So far we have a bamboo tablet, a dozen flip video cameras, a blue yeti microphone and some super cool software, like Autosketch Pro, on our medialab laptop. A couple of tripods. A camera. My goal is to eventually have a medialab space set up–possibly the larger of our two study rooms, and bring on the 3d printers etc. that would take it from a medialab to a makerspace.

Problem is, I can’t seem to sell this to some of my stakeholders. The Friends don’t get the point of this at all. Some patrons think it’s cool, but still don’t see why a library should offer this stuff. The local businesspeople I am trying to sell this stuff to–as a way to create a logo, record a video or podcast, design a webpage, and so on–seem perfectly fine with their non-digital status quo. Luckily the teens are all over this stuff.

Still, I am struggling. I can’t get all the stuff I need to make a full-fledged medialab without some money, and I can’t get the money without the buy-in of the Friends at least, and I can’t get the buy-in without having all the stuff to get people excited and making stuff. Holy Vicious Cycle, Batman. Once one adult business owner makes something cool with our equipment I’m sure the word will get out about its utility. But it’s hard to wait.

As soon as I get one or two more things I’ll host an open house and see if that gets people motivated. For now–anyone want to come play on some cool medialab equipment?