Digital Innovation Hubs pave way for emerging technologies, revamp libraries Life, Sci/Tech

By: Hailey DeWitt Williams

Gone are the days where the library was simply for taking out books.

Digital Innovation Hubs are becoming a one-stop resource for all your creative and academic needs.

These hubs create an environment where people can create, learn, and explore new technologies. People can take workshops to learn everything from picture editing to coding. People have access to recording studios where they can film a movie, commercial, school project, or even record songs and podcasts. Editing software and equipment is provided, green screens, lights, speakers, and microphones. People can even use and observe 3D printers in action.

Libraries want to create a new way for people to learn about technology in a welcoming environment, says Lina Kim, Services Specialist at the Toronto Reference Library.

“These spaces are very much in line with our values, which is sharing and creating,” says Kim.

“We wanted to create these spaces that are really focused on emerging technologies so that we can train our staff and provide a unique experience for people who are using these libraries. Teaching people how to use and access information in different ways is a part of our services,” says Kim.

Although Toronto Public Library’s first hub opened in 2014, many people still aren’t aware of the services offered.

“No I’ve never heard of them, but after hearing what they’re all about I’d really like to go and try it out,” said Kirti Grover, Esthetician and Spa Management student.

People can register for classes to learn photoshop, web design and coding. Lynda.com is also available, giving free access to thousands of online tutorials.

“The library is a really unique place in terms of accessibility. We are very lucky that we welcome everyone with any interest to use our space and attend our free programs with no barriers. Many spaces that are available in the city often are membership only or you have to access them through more academic means,” says Kim.

Any of your technology curiosities can be explored. By attending a free one hour certification class you can go to any hub and book time with a 3D printer, up to two hours a day per day.

Four more Digital Innovation Hubs are expected to open by the end of the year: Downsview, Albion, Asian Court, Sheppard, and a larger innovation space at the North York Central Library.

Digital Innovation Hubs pave way for emerging technologies, revamp libraries
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