Naperville library creating digital media lab at 95th Street

A 3-D printer, 12 iMac computers and one iBook laptop are set to be the main components of a digital media lab the Naperville Public Library is creating at the 95th Street Library.

The lab will be the first dedicated area for patrons to use creative software such as iMovie, GarageBand, Adobe InDesign or Adobe Photoshop to do things like edit movies and photos, compose basic songs or even print 3-D models of architectural designs, said Julie Rothenfluh, executive director.

The lab will be up and running sometime next year, said Dave Della Terza, computer lab supervisor, after the library board this week approved the $25,086 purchase of 13 additional computers and a mini server. In the meantime, patrons can use five Macs the library bought in January and scattered across the Nichols, Naper Boulevard and 95th Street locations.

“We made some of the software available everywhere to get an idea if people were interested in this,” Rothenfluh said.

They were.

“The Macs have been very popular so far,” Della Terza said. “The digital media lab will increase even more what we'll be able to offer.”

Library users have been rocking out to self-created songs using GarageBand and improving the quality of their photos and videos in Photoshop and iMovie, he said. Soon students and business people will be able to use a 3-D printer to turn handmade models of building designs, for instance, into more professional versions.

The type of 3-D printer the library soon will install is not as fancy as some that can handle industrial-grade manufacturing projects, Della Terza said. But staff will be trained to help patrons print 3-D items and eventually, the library will run programs teaching people how to use the printer on their own.

Education on the other programs to be offered in the digital media lab will be one of the main features of the area as the library aims to make technology more accessible.

“We're trying to make it as practical as possible,” Della Terza said. “We know most people in the community want to do simpler things like cropping and fixing pictures and uploading old pictures. We want to make it as accessible as possible to the most people.”

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