The advancement of technology has blown my mind. And the progression of children and young adults using technology is so radical that it literally stops me in my tracks.
Driving down the side streets of my town, I see many kids with one hand on the bike handle and one hand holding a cellphone. Sitting in the doctor’s office, I constantly see wide-eyed 3-year-olds with both hands on their iPads.
This world is breathing in digital. The texters, tweeters, posters, bloggers and overall tech heads are infiltrating — and admittedly so, I have converted, too.
Recently, Naperville Public Library had a soft opening of its new state-of-the-art Idea Lab at 95th Street Library. And let me tell you, it is jaw-dropping amazing. To me, the Idea Lab’s main attraction is the 3-D printer and scanner. The MakerBot Replicator2 can print a three-dimensional object of almost any shape from a digital model. From architectural layouts and mechanical parts to game pieces and jewelry, the 3-D printer can draw a crowd. Some printers can even create prosthetic hands, which is so unbelievably digitally forward thinking.
The other showstoppers in the Idea Lab are the VHS and vinyl record converter stations. I can’t wait to convert my Grammy’s Jack and the Beanstalk story times on cassette as well as all of my Cyndi Lauper records to MP3 files. I also can finally transfer my old home movies from video tapes to DVDs. The Idea Lab also features a ScanSnap batch photo and document scanner that can scan a stack of about 20 varied-size photos at a time. This will save me so much time when uploading all of my photos onto the computer.
For the musically inclined, the Idea Lab offers music creation equipment such as a keyboard and microphone as well as software like Garage Band. Other amenities in the lab are a Blu-ray burner, slide and negative converter as well as software, including Adobe Photoshop, iMovie and Adobe CS6 Suite.
Through March 19, the library is seeking individuals to become quality assurance testers to try out different technology and software in the Idea Lab. Any adult with a Naperville Public Library card or any high school student from school districts 203 or 204 are welcome to test out and provide feedback on the use of three different pieces of equipment or software.
Participants will be entered for a chance to win a $25 Apple Store gift card. Two winners will be announced during the Idea Lab’s March 19 grand opening. For more information, call the 95th Street Library computer lab desk at 630-961-4100, ext. 4990.
So whether you are tech savvy or you just like to see really neat technological advancements, come test out the Idea Lab and make sure you mark your calendar for the March 19 grand opening. See you there!
Mary Rakoczy is a multimedia associate for the Naperville Public Library.