Idea Lab opens at 95th Street Library

<p>File photo.</p>

File photo.

A new digital media lab has been launched at the 95th Street Library in Naperville.

The new amenity, which was made possible by converting teaching space in the library’s computer lab, includes various components including a 3D printer and scanner, conversion hardware for transferring VHS material and photos to a digital format, as well as other software and equipment for converting music formats. Cost for the media lab was approximately $27,000.

Manager of the 95th Street Library, Karen Dunford, said the newly repurposed space, which will be called the “Idea Lab,” was outfitted based on patron requests as well as visits to other libraries made my staff.

“We talked with patrons as well as got ideas by visiting other libraries and having people visit ours,” she said.

Mayor A George Pradel was present for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday night, and said the new media lab “was an opportunity for people to experiment.”

“This is where good minds, hands, and imagination can work and I can’t believe how technologically advanced things have become,” Pradel said. “The crowd here tonight is wonderful. The parking lot was packed, and this validates having a community library. We thought at one time with the Internet and computers at home, people wouldn’t use this as much. But people are yearning for education.”

Mason Vospette, 14, said he planned to check out the 3D printer and “tinker around.”

“I think this lab will be interesting and I might also dabble in the photo shop,” he said.

During the regular Library Board meeting that followed the ceremony for the Idea Lab, trustees approved column lighting replacements at the 95th Street facility by awarding a contract to L.E.D. Rite LLC for just under $38,000.

Library Executive Director Julie Rothenfluh said the current lighting system dates back to the building’s construction in 2003 and is inadequate.

“The plan is to replace each of the current lights with LED light for a potential savings of over 104,000 kilowatts annually,” she said. “The LED lights also have a significantly longer operating life which means fewer bulb changes, resulting in additional savings on maintenance replacement costs.”

The library has applied for a $5,000 grant from Naperville/IMEA under the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency Electric Efficiency Program to reduce the total final cost.