Studio 304: Library opens new creative technology lab

SOUTH BEND There's a brand new space in the St. Joseph County Public Library, designed to foster creativity and original content. Studio 304 opened its doors July 1st, after staff collaborated on the name and renovation plans for a year and a half.

The name- Studio 304- is in reference to the library's address, 304 S. Main Street. The lab features seven Mac Book work stations, a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer, audio and video recording equipment, a large format printer and two color printers. The project was $228,000 and was funded through Library Improvement Reserve funds and fundraising dollars from events like Trivia Night.

Staff says the theme is modern-industrial, and it was completely renovated with new furniture, lighting and equipment. The room used to house the Literacy and Outreach program, but was transformed into a completely new space.

"It was very much a library department that was created in the late 80's early 90's, a lot of teal. It was definitely a library room, and this is something completely different. You walk in like, wow, I can't believe this is still part of the library," said Marianne Kruppa, the manager of Studio 304.

During weekly tours, community members say they are excited about the possibilities within.

"The cutting edge technology is pretty awesome," said Travis Hines, a small business owner. "It's all pretty impressive."

Local parent, Elemi Brown, says he's encouraged by the opportunities for his children.

"This is fantastic. I would like to see all libraries go to this type of capacity to be able to come in for free, and just let minds grow," said brown.

"We have a small business and we're interested in using the 3D printer," said Ida Williams, a small business owner in the area.

Everything except printing is free to use in the lab. Color prints, 3D printing and large format prints are charged by weight and page. Patrons can also rent cameras, tripods and portable hard drives with a library card and refundable $50 deposit.

Studio 304 is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during main library hours. It is located within the main branch at 304 S. Main Street in South Bend.

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