Creative Studio turns 1

We’re celebrating the first anniversary of the Creative Studio! Since the digital makerspace officially opened last April on the Main Library’s third floor, it’s been a fantastic year of learning, expanding offerings, and, of course, lots of creativity.

“The Creative Studio provides access to technology and tools that help patrons realize their personal, professional, and creative aspirations,” says Supervising Librarian of Creative Technology John Gargiulo. “While access to equipment like microphones, 3D printers, and vinyl cutters can be cost prohibitive to individuals, having this equipment accessible at the library allows patrons to more freely experiment with tools that can help them with a wide variety of projects.”

To get started on a wide variety of creative projects, community members can learn how to use the studio’s resources from the library’s Creative Technology team, in one-on-one learning sessions, open drop-in sessions, and workshops on specific topics.

“While we can’t make projects for you, we can demonstrate how to get started and help research and answer questions that might arise while you are working on a project,” Gargiulo says. “When you bring the inspiration and ideas, we can help connect you with resources that will support the journey of your project. We love hearing about your goals for your project and learning alongside you.”

We’ve got the tech—you bring the inspiration

Nick Posey uses keyboard in Audio Booth

What are community members doing in the Creative Studio?

3D-printing. Since the Creative Studio ribbon cutting last April, we’ve 3D-printed nearly 930 objects for community members. This service “has allowed patrons to create a wide variety of toys and tools,” Gargiulo says, “ranging from figurines to gardening tools to product prototypes!”

Recording podcasts, audiobooks, and songs in the Audio Booth. Almost 130 people have been trained to use the recording equipment in this acoustically treated space (pictured here) in the past year!

Converting analog to digital in the Media Preservation Station. For example, you can convert VHS tapes to digital formats, “allowing memories to be preserved and shared with friends and family,” Gargiulo says.

We’ve also introduced new resources in the past year, including a Music Bench station for creating and editing music, and a miniDV digitization toolbox to help archive miniDV cassettes, a video format often used by camcorders.

“We received requests last year for help digitizing this format, and we’re excited to have expanded our offerings to help with that need,” Gargiulo says. “As we learn more about how patrons are using the space, we consider relevant programming options and opportunities to acquire new equipment. The Creative Technology team is always evaluating future opportunities to add equipment and services that can best meet our users’ needs.”

‘When I learned of the Creative Studio offerings I quickly signed up for a class!’

Oak Parker Meg Nelligan and her family are frequent library users. “Beyond borrowing books, we have attended story times, used the children’s computers, tracked reading in the summer programs and always have a queue of holds on the Libby App,” she told us earlier this year. “When I learned of the Creative Studio offerings I quickly signed up for a class!”

Laser-cut teardrop earrings

Through the guidance of library staff including Creative Technology Specialist Jericho Savage and Creative Technology Librarian Amy Hofmockel, Meg used the Creative Studio’s Glowforge laser cutter to make two acrylic lamps (one pictured here) and the Cricut system to design a laptop sticker.

She then ventured into more projects of her own, including coasters, ornaments, and earrings (pictured here). 

While the Creative Studio “offers me a great outlet for my own creativity,” Meg said, she’s also used its resources professionally.

As chief operating officer of Oak Park’s Tapster Robotics, Inc., which manufactures robots that do automated testing, Meg applied her skills with the Glowforge laser cutter to create a prototype for a new Tapster product: an acrylic box that blocks out light so that the electronics inside function properly.

Meg tells us she hopes to use the Creative Studio again soon “for some more fun: custom cookie stencils using the Cricut and to transfer my wedding video to a digital format.”

‘My appreciation to your staff’

Since the ribbon cutting on the space last April, we’ve added more open studio hours in which users can drop in and use the equipment. We’ve also added more staff time dedicated to guiding patrons—in one-on-one learning lab appointments, in equipment training, and in supervising open studio hours.

It all happens thanks to our Creative Technology Team (pictured here, from left to right): Creative Technology Specialists Kay Slater and Jericho Savage, Supervising Librarian of Creative Technology John Gargiulo, and Creative Technology Librarian Amy Hofmockel.

In March, patron D. Floyd wrote to us with praise for the team: “I am expressing my appreciation to your staff Amy and Kay in the [Creative] Studio Lab. As a senior not technically savvy who learns differently, they were extremely understanding and willing to help me.”

In helping her complete two 3D printing projects, Amy and Kay were “very patient and patron friendly,” she said. “My compliments and commendations to both!”

What could you create?

“The Creative Technology team has been thrilled to help Oak Parkers realize their creative ambitions,” Gargiulo says. “Stop by soon to check out the equipment and possibilities!”

See the Open Hours schedule, make reservations to use equipment, schedule one-on-one learning time, and register for upcoming classes by clicking the button below.