Idea Lab opens March 19 at 95th Street Library

<p>Naperville Public Library's Idea Lab will open at the 95th Street branch on March 19.  |  Submitted</p>

Naperville Public Library's Idea Lab will open at the 95th Street branch on March 19.  |  Submitted

From the latest smartphones and tablets to the advancement of social media, the world is spinning by means of all things digital. Naperville Public Library knows it’s important to be a digital-first organization, so after months of planning, an official grand opening of its new state-of-the-art Idea Lab will take place at 6:30 p.m. March 19 at 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive.

“Technology continues to explode in front of us,” Frances Tong, the library’s information technology manager, said. “The Idea Lab came at the same time we worked on the vision statement in 2013.The lab aims to encourage patrons to reach into technology and grab an idea to inspire, imagine and inform.”

During the library’s month-long soft opening of the digital media lab, the main attraction has been 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 attract a crowd.

“Patrons are still exploring the use of 3-D scanning,” Tong said. “The first object was a 3-D pendant, just in time for Valentine’s Day. One patron brought in the battery cover for a remote control. We also have someone trying to duplicate a hard-to-find object for his model railroad.”

The other showstoppers in the Idea Lab are the VHS and vinyl record converter stations. The lab also features a ScanSnap batch photo and document scanner that can scan a stack of about 20 varied-size photos at a time.

For the musically inclined, the Idea Lab offers music creation equipment such as a keyboard and microphone as well as software like GarageBand. Other amenities are a Blu-ray burner, slide and negative converter as well as software, including Adobe Photoshop, iMovie and Adobe CS6 Suite.

The March 19 grand opening and ribbon cutting will showcase what the lab offers, and staff members will be available to demonstrate the different lab technology. Patrons will be able to see firsthand the operation of all the various lab equipment, and they also will get to take home a 3-D object.

To further educate patrons on the lab’s services, the library will present an Adult Summer Tech Program and Teen Summer Tech Program, both starting in early June. For program dates and times, go to the library’s website, naperville-lib.org.

QA testers are needed through March 19. The library is seeking individuals to become quality assurance testers to try out different technology and software in the Idea Lab. Adults with a Naperville Public Library card or students from school districts 203, 204 and North Central College 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 March 19 grand opening. For more information, call the 95th Street Library computer lab desk at 630-961-4100, ext. 4990.

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