New Media Lab – New customers

ALIA Library

Miller, Lisa

ALIA Information Online 2015 Conference, 2-5 February 2015, Sydney: at the edge.
In July 2013 City of Gold Coast Libraries opened a Media Lab – a digital creation space for individual and collaborative group work or training sessions, in a new long anticipated very handsome library building that replaced an undersized facility. The community were eagerly watching the growth and development of the site but I think it is fair to say, the building exceeded expectations – and that was just the start. The Mayoral opening attracted much attention from existing customers and new and different audiences – the potential for the new and engaging ways to build cultural community capacity was launched!
Activating a new Media Lab was an exciting and adventurous project that has no end. We acknowledged our ambitions at the outset were to deliver on Council’s new Culture Strategy which included a facilitator of digital media creation, a connector of software and hardware with customers and experts, within a capacity building framework. The reach would extend beyond our known customers and community and challenge us to step out of our comfort zone to continue to grow new connections in diverse environments.
By actively seeking skills and expertise outside our existing staffing, we continue to grow our own skills while at the same time allowing community members, new business start-ups, and other interested people of all ages to adopt some buy-in to the facility.
Relevance to theme
We have secured interest and support from previously non-users and non-user groups. Our contacts extend from small business operators needing 3D prints of proposed kitchens, teens ‘pimping their ring tones’, graduated digital media students wanting business and creative exposure, and tech heads sharing their coding and robotics not to mention the partnerships with other creative forces (e.g. series of short film production with the Gold Coast Film Festival). This will continue to evolve as our contacts grow and change and as they help mould the topics and knowledge shared and as our audience needs change. As facilitators not always teachers, community input is vital to the deliver a healthy, vibrant and creative digital media lab.

Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association