Fountaindale Library's new $3M media center unmatched in west suburbs
BOLINGBROOK — When the Fountaindale Public Library's new digital media center opens next month, library members will have more than $600,000 worth of technology and equipment at their disposal.
Dubbed Studio 300, the 6,800-square-foot space in the basement of the library will offer the largest and most comprehensive media center of its kind in the western suburbs, according to library staff.
Local bands will be able to record music with the studio's audio recording equipment. Homeowners can design and print their own posters or fliers for garage sales. Families can share time with long distance relatives via video conferencing. Students can create their own science projects from scratch using a 3D printer.
"This will be an enormous technological asset to the Bolingbrook community," library executive director Paul Mills said. "Very few people have the resources, space or money to fit all of this equipment in their home."
The studio's nearly 7,000 square feet of space boasts 18 Mac desktop computers, each with an oversized 27-inch screen, and 12 MacBook laptops.
It has six audio and two video recording studios and three group collaboration rooms equipped with dual screen sharing technology and video conferencing equipment. There are also 3D and poster printing stations, which patrons can use for a reasonable fee.
It will also be home to the Friends of the Library Book Cellar, where gently used books, CDs, DVDs, flash drives and other electronic items will be sold. Income from the store will benefit the Friend of the Library club.
Open throughout library hours, the media center will be staffed with trained professionals to assist users of any skill level.
Initially, Studio 300 will function like a classroom, as Fountaindale staff host spring seminars and tutorials to familiarize residents with equipment and technology.
Bolingbrook resident and Fountaindale Public Library Studio Services Manager Jeffrey Fisher is already planning introductory classes as well as summer camps to utilize the media center.
"Soon, patrons will be able to attend group classes or receive one-on-one training from Studio 300 staff," Fisher said. "It is important for us to keep the momentum going and keep people excited. In addition to our into classes like Photoshop, we are already thinking about summer camps and other activities."
Fisher began his role in October after the groundwork of the $3 million media center was laid. He has since overseen equipment purchases, aided the media center marketing plan, hired Studio 300 staff and overseen the construction. He will now manage day-to-day operations and programming of the studio.
Simply, he said Studio 300 is "designed to provide an avenue for patrons to tell their stories."
When the $35 million Fountaindale Public Library opened in March 2011, favorable construction pricing and efficient management yielded an approximate $3 million surplus from the building bond, according to Mills.
The Fountaindale Board left the basement empty, deferring further construction to survey Chicagoland libraries and determine an effective use. After much deliberation, they hired architectural firm Nagle Hartray to build a digital media center.
Now, the studio is unrivaled in the west suburbs, Mills said.
"The Joliet Public Library has a digital media center, but they had to abide by spacial constraints that did not affect us," Mills said. "We had the space to put in multiple video and audio recording studios, and fill the space with the best state-of-the-art technology."
Residents can access Studio 300 beginning Saturday, March 16, when a grand opening is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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