Maine Library Opens Up Digital Media Lab

(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - A trip to the library has gotten a lot more exciting for 4-year-old Joshua Deforest.

The library in Auburn, Maine recently opened a digital media lab, the first one in a New England public library.

With grants and donations of $20,000, the library bought computers, microphones, keyboards, cameras, lights and software for music and video editing.

"We want people to be able to create content as well as come to the library and use the content that is here," Jim Wilkins of the Auburn Library said.

For the cost of a library card, you can learn how to edit photos and publish them to the web. Music fans can play with Garage Band and have an orchestra of instruments at their fingertips.

"It gives kids something to do that's not affordable at home and it gets them out of the house and the library, Mom and Dad like that," Josh said.

It's even possible to make movies at the library with the available HD camera. You can shoot what you want - and there's even a green screen - put it into the computer, edit it and then post to YouTube - all at the library.

A group of fifth graders were the first to use the lab. They made a music video to teach other students how to work their way through a math problem.

Wilkins says it's not just kids and teens using the equipment, though, Older people are using the lab to make family photo albums and transferring VHS videos to digital media.

"It's critical that libraries keep up with what people want and how they want to use their information and how to interface with information, that relationship is changing," Wilkins said.

Local businesses are also excited about the lab since they can make web videos or create original music without making a capital investment or paying big money to an outside company to deliver content.

"For our small businesses, resources are not available, and being able to utilize this it starts to level out the playing field with larger communities," said Economic Growth Council's Calvin Rinck.

There's always going to be books at the library, but in order to stay relevant, the Auburn Library felt it needed to offer something more.

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