Eagle Public Library launches creativity at its high tech Spark Studio
June 1, 2018
The Eagle Public Library has decided to reimagine what a library can be.
"We are no longer just about books," explained Tegan Davis, public relations librarian for the Eagle Valley Library District. "We want to provide our patrons with the tools and the technology to explore their creativity."
To accomplish this goal, the library has opened the Spark Studio, a high-tech, collaborative space designed for learning, exploring and creating with 21st century tools and technologies.
In today's world, the definition of literacy is broader than being able to read. To function at work, at school and even at the grocery store, people need to be tech savvy. Davis noted that libraries have always played an essential role in addressing literacy by providing basic digital services along with access to books, computers and electronic resources.
"In the Spark Studio, people can explore their creativity, cultivate their imaginations and develop skills in interactive, hands-on ways," Davis said.
"In today's age, literacy skills mean more than just reading and writing — it now includes technological and media literacy," she said. "The Spark Studio answers the community's increasing need to develop skills and prepare for careers in a technology-dependent, global economy. The goal of the Spark Studio is to inspire and foster interests in science, technology, engineering, art and math."
The Spark Studio includes both high tech software and hardware, partnered with an extensive tutorial library. For instance, the studio offers users access to the Adobe Creative Suite — software programs including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Lightroom. But as any novice can attest, it's difficult to jump into using those programs without a bit of training. To pair with Adobe products, the library offers Lynda.com access, an on-line tutorial library that offers instruction from industry experts on hundreds of topics.
Spark Studio checkout options
Patrons with library cards in good standing can checkout Spark Studio items for seven days with no renewals. Fines for late returns will accrue at the rate of $1 per day.
Here what's available:
360 Fly 4K (360-degree video camera)
Canon XC10 4K Professional Camcorder Kit
Epson DS-40 Portable Document Scanner
GoPro Hero 5
Green Screen Kit
Toshiba 1TB External Hard Drive
"These tutorials are not just for professionals or for the first time user," said Jolanda Durbin, Eagle Valley Library District Cataloger and Spark Studio Committee member. "They are not dry and there are very user friendly."
"The Spark Studio can nurture the next entrepreneur, engineer or artist with free access to technology such as a 3D printer, 3D scanner and design software including Maya animation software, AduoCAD and the Adobe Creative Suite" Durbin said.
By utilizing the Spark Studio, patrons can complete projects that include printing 3D plastic prototype models and filming and editing movies and animation projects. High Five Access Media filmed the promotional video for the Spark Studio using the equipment and software available.
Using new technology to access old technology
One of the issues associated with technology is change. Today's high tech option may be obsolete, and unsupported, in just a few years. Just ask anyone who compiled an extensive library of VHS tapes depicting family milestones. Or, going back even further, think about all those carousels of slides collecting dust at grandma's house.
The Spark Studio is equipped to address those issues.
Durbin noted that the study as equipment to digitize VHS tapes, restore and digitize old family photographs and even convert slides into digital files. She noted one library patron was recently able to digital her daughters piano recitals from decades ago from old VHS tapes she hadn't been able to view for years. Other patrons have scanned family photos and shared them with relatives living across the country.
How about some fun?
Technology isn't just about engineering and documentation. It's also about fun and the Spark Studio has that covered.
"Patrons are experiencing and exploring virtual reality for the first time using our Oculus Rift — an immersive virtual reality system," Davis said.
As per manufacturer instructions, the Oculus is for patrons age 15 and older. It's a great way for adults to rediscover play.
The Oculus options run from the whimsical, such as Fruit Ninja, to the educational, such as climbing Everest. There are virtual mediation sessions along with more active games.
"We recommend you bring a spotter," said Davis. "It really is an immersive experience and it helps to have someone keep an eye on the time."
Because of all the options available and the limited space in the Spark Studio, there are some reservation rules. The studio can be reserved, on weekdays when the library is open, up to two weeks in advance for time blocks of up to three hours. During weekends, the space is available on a drop-in, first come, first-served basis. While children can use the studio, kids age 15 and young must accompanied by a responsible adult.
The Spark Studio closes 30 minutes prior to library closing daily. Also, for people who are working on projects, plan on saving work on your own device because the equipment will be routinely scrubbed and your work can be lost. Luckily, however, external storage devices are available for check out from the studio.
"Spark Studio is a place for the community where creativity and innovation are supported by technology," Davis said. "We talk about the library bringing the world to the community, but now we can also bring the community to the world. If you aspire to become an artist, publisher, videographer, author, musician or game developer, Spark Studio is the space for you to learn and develop skills. "
To book time at the Spark Studio, call 970-328-8800.