Go Digital: Library’s Digital Den Reopens with New Recording Studio and Programs | Local News



For more than a year, 3D printers, video cameras, green screen and other equipment inside the Digital Den of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library have been idle due to the pandemic of COVID-19.

But this week, the creative workspace that opened in 2019 in the downtown branch rebooted and accelerated with a new and improved space offering more free services than before.

This includes a new recording studio that can be used for podcasts, professional Zoom meetings or other video projects that was installed as part of a $ 25,000 renovation at the downtown branch.

Ben Rutz, the library’s new digital media coordinator overseeing the den, said that means there’s no better time than now for patrons to explore all they have to offer.

The den officially reopened on Monday with extended hours of operation for anyone to use the equipment.

Patrons can see the space in action at a grand reopening event from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. on April 15. Live demonstrations will take place throughout the day to show off the green screens, printers and other technology.

“A lot of people didn’t really know what we had here, so the grand opening is meant to make people aware that we have all of this cool stuff here, and it’s free, so come and use it,” said Rutz.

This includes 3D printers that customers can use to create virtually anything they can imagine. Rutz recently used the equipment to print miniature Zen gardens for an upcoming library program, as well as one-handed book racks and miniature figurines.

Ben Rutz shoots 3D printer parts in the new Digital Den at the Kokomo Howard County Public Library.

“It’s an incredibly useful tool, and it’s my personal belief that it’s the furthest we have advanced in modern technology,” said Rutz. “The possibilities of what you can do are virtually endless. “

The machines are available to any customer and cost $ 1 per hour of printing for up to 5 hours.

The Den also purchased a Cricut Maker machine that can print logos or other designs that can be placed on t-shirts, magnets, or buttons. Use of the machine is free and can be verified to take home, but customers need to purchase the printing materials.

A computer in the den is equipped with all of the Adobe Creative Suite software that can be used to edit videos, photos, recordings, or almost any other digital content. Associated with the green screen, customers can be the star of their own show and edit it with the software.

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Ben Rutz sets up the green screen for a photoshoot in the new Digital Den at the Kokomo Howard County Public Library.

Rutz said if anyone has ever been interested in photography, videos, podcasts or any other digital content, the Den is a good place to test the waters and learn the ropes.

“It’s a great place for people to get into projects that they don’t really know where to start,” he said. “If they have an idea for a video or want to learn more about photography, and they don’t want to spend a lot of money on a hobby that they don’t know much about, they can come here and use this material. “

The space also has video game consoles, virtual reality equipment, board games and programmable robots. There is also a machine which can convert VHS tapes to DVD.

Rutz said the Digital Den was first set up at the library primarily as a space for children to use as part of a program called Digital Divers. This program is now back from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday.

But with the space renovated and the new hours of operation, Rutz said he hopes to attract more customers than ever to start enjoying the den.

“My goal is to have a revolving door of people who come every day to create a great and creative project,” he said.

And it does not stop there. Rutz said he plans to start offering classes on how to record and create podcasts, and hopes to start some sort of e-sports program using the library’s video game consoles.

For now, however, it’s exciting to see the space reopen, he said, with more services than ever after lying idle for over a year.

“It’s bigger and better than ever, and we’re now open for people to use our stuff whenever they want,” Rutz said.



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