The Vancouver Public Library’s Main Branch begins welcoming visitors to its new Inspiration Lab today. It will officially open to the public at 10 AM with tours of the new facility taking place through May 30.
The 7,500 square foot space, located on the 3rd floor of the Georgia Street location, features 3,000 square feet of recording studios as well as collaborative spaces and high performance digital media stations – all of which can be booked free of charge by members of the public.
Christina de Castell, the library’s director of collections and technology, says the space was inspired by input from the public.
“Back in 2012, we did some consultation for our strategic plan and we heard from Vancouver that they wanted the library to teach them more – about technology, about film making, about sound and music and digital design.”
This new facility will allow Vancouverites to tell their stories on a variety of digital platforms. Users will have access to cutting-edge digital tools for a variety of media and collaborative projects.
One of the recording studios is equipped with a green screen, video camera with dolly, professional lighting and a control room featuring an 18-channel audio mixing board. High performance desktops feature media editing software for audio and video as well as publication design. Self-publishing software will also be available for use and equipment for analog to digital conversion is available for a variety of media types, including VHS, 8mm and cassette tapes, slides, photos and film negatives.
— Catherine Evans (@catherineevans) May 5, 2015
de Castell says the possibilities are only limited to users imaginations.
“We see a whole range of possibilities and I think we’ll discover that when people get in there they’ll come up with lots of things we’ve never thought of.”
The Lab has uses beyond the creative as well. “If someone needs to do a job interview on Skype and they really need to not be at home where their cat might meow or construction noise might start outside, we can use the space for that as well,” de Castell says. There is also 1,500 square feet of collaborative and program-oriented space, including a presentation and training area with room for 16 attendees and smaller digital display spaces for individuals and smaller groups.
Time in the Lab’s facilities can be booked on the library website.
Tools and Training
The library will also be providing resources to help users learn to use the tools featured in the Lab.
“We have a lynda.com subscription for online training and that will be available at all the computers in the library, not just those in the Inspiration Lab.”
Eventually, the plan is to extend access to anyone with a VPL library card and an internet connection.
And there’s more! Over coming months, the library will start planning a host of programs with industry experts on topics such as film, game development and digital design, including week-long boot camps and multi-session workshops.
“We see this as the next evolution of the tech and kind of resources that libraries have always provided but it’s definitely new for us.”
No books were harmed
With the opening up of such a large space in the library building, some have expressed concerns about the possible removal of books in order to accommodate the lab. de Castell wants to reassure those concerned that not a single book was lost to the Lab.
“Over the summer last year we relocated books from this area into other parts of the library.”
All books formerly located in the space that the Inspiration Lab now occupies have been moved to other areas within the library building.
— Vancouver Public Lib (@VPL) May 5, 2015