HUDSON — A budding entrepreneur seeking funding from a venture capitalist or a student looking to earn a top grade on a class project will benefit from the Creativity Lab being constructed in the library this summer, the organization’s leader said.
E. Leslie Polott, executive director of the Hudson Library & Historical Society, said the nearly 500 square foot lab will have "both audio and video capability" that can be used for activities such as making a music video, creating a CD, or crafting a business presentation. The lab will consist of a performance room (215 square feet) and a production room (280 square feet) that will be housed on the library’s second floor next to the computer lab, she said. Nonfiction books are being moved to make space for the Creativity Lab, according to Polott. She added a smaller amount of those titles are being removed from the collection and given to the Friends of the Library for the group to sell.
Polott said the Creativity Lab will be "partial drywall, partial glass," and also contain soundproofing materials so that customers can still enjoy a quiet atmosphere to examine items.
"It’ll really give people an opportunity to be as creative as possible," said Polott. "We’re very excited."
Polott said funding for the Creativity Lab is coming out of capital, furniture and technology line items within the general fund. She noted about $300,000 has been earmarked for the project, a figure which covers both constructing the lab and installing the equipment, such as microphones, computers, cameras and editing software.
Polott added that library officials opened bids on the project last week and noted prospective contractors are being reviewed. While noting that she could not reveal the specific bid prices yet, Polott said the "lowest and best bid" appeared to be "within what we anticipated."
The plan is for the Library’s Board of Trustees to accept one of the bids at its next meeting on April 23. Polott said she hopes to break ground on the lab in June and to have the facility "up and running by some time in the early fall."
"I think it will be fabulous for the community," said Polott. "It’s something that a number of people have asked for, and it’s going to be free. What could be better?"
How the project materialized
Polott said library officials decided to build the lab after receiving feedback from the community as a result of strategic planning efforts.
She explained there are a number of entrepreneurs who use the library’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship Research for mentoring, classes and training. Once they’ve gone through some of these educational opportunities, the entrepreneurs then try to obtain start-up funding from a venture capitalist.
"They said things like, ‘it would be really wonderful if there was an opportunity to actually create a presentation at the [center]," noted Polott.
Additionally, Polott said she heard from teenagers who were interested in having a place where they could put together a presentation for school or have fun making a music video.
She noted "most top libraries" have a similar facility and added that officials visited libraries in Akron, Cleveland Heights, University Heights, as well as facilities in a few Connecticut cities.
"We’ve done our homework," said Polott. "It’s a well thought out plan."
Polott explained that she along with her staff members in the adult services, children’s services and technology departments will be trained on the usage of the equipment. Those employees will then be available to provide instruction to community members on using the equipment. Once a patron has received training, he or she can sign up to use the lab, said Polott.
"Some of it’s very expensive equipment and we need to make sure that people know how to use it effectively," she said.
Polott noted officials are working with HBM Architects on this project. That same company built the library, and also renovated the teen and children’s rooms.
She added she and her colleagues believe the lab will "benefit the entire community."
How the library is funded
The library has had a property tax levy since 1993, and the issue was last renewed in 2016, said Polott. She added the levy provides about two-thirds of the library’s revenue and the remaining one-third comes from state funding. Polott said her staff is always seeking out grant funding in an effort to "stretch our tax dollar," and "make things less onerous to the community."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.