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Photo by Mike Pearson

Photo by Mike Pearson

Lita Barrie demonstrates the Yamaha electronic drum kit at the Red Hill library.

Rock at Hamilton libraries

Red Hill, Terryberry branches unveil new creative technologies

By Mike Pearson, News staff

Until recently, playing a drum kit in a public library would have gotten you promptly thrown out.

That’s not the case today at two Hamilton Public Library branches where digital media labs are now available.

While it seems like an odd place to rock out, the media labs help users create and edit music, along with a variety of other functions.

In Hamilton, digital media labs were unveiled about two weeks ago at the Red Hill and Terryberry libraries, for members in good standing aged 14 and over.

Each lab is equipped with two Apple desktop computers loaded with the latest Adobe creative software that lets users create and edit digital video, record and mix their own music, edit photography or work on graphic design. The labs also include a scanner, tripods, digital cameras and a green screen wall.

A Yamaha electronic drum kit and virtual keyboard are available to help users create their own original music or add instrumentation to an a capella vocal track.

If you’ve found a box of home movies on VHS tape buried in your basement, the digital media lab allows you to transfer those video and audio files to a digital format. A digital scanner helps users transform old film negatives into digital files. Users must bring an external file storage device, such as a USB, or purchase one from the library. And while efforts have been made to soundproof the digital media labs, users are strongly encouraged to use headphones to minimize disruptions to other patrons.

Lita Barrie, director of digital technology for Hamilton Public Library, hopes users will take advantage of the new labs to explore their creative sides.

“We have lots of people who come in that are looking to do this sort of thing,” Barrie said. “They want to edit their pictures, or make a little video for school. And now they have a space where they can do that.”

The Red Hill lab opened about two weeks ago. Users can call the branch to book the room for a two-hour segment during regular business hours. Over the coming weeks, the labs in both libraries will host a series of drop-in  programs to show people how to use the technology. Users can also book a one-on-one instructional session with a library staff member.

Using an Apple program called GarageBand, users can create their own music or podcast, then download and save the files to an external storage device.

“You can have a little band, right here in the library and create everything,” said Barrie.

A maximum of six people are allowed in the digital lab at any one time.

The Red Hill library branch is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m to 9 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The digital media lab typically closes 30 minutes before the end of the day. The branch is located at 695 Queenston Rd.

Along with the Red Hill and Terryberry branches, a third digital media lab is planned for the Central Library in downtown Hamilton. That lab will feature a 3-D printer as well.

For more on Hamilton Public Library’s digital media labs, call 905-546-3200 or see the HPL website at www.hpl.ca.

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