Good News from Grantees: IdeaSpace - Central Rappahannock Regional Library

A grant from the Duff McDuff Green, Jr. Fund of The Community Foundation is helping equip Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s new IdeaSpace.

IdeaSpace expands upon the library’s MakerLab model offering access to technologies like a recording and video editing studio, a social humanoid robot, drawing tablets, laser cutters, 3D printer and scanner services, specialty sewing equipment, and more. Equipment like this can be prohibitively expensive for area students and other citizens. IdeaSpace equipment will be available free of charge to encourage regional youth and offer them the opportunity to build STEM technology skills.

Central Rappahannock Regional Library partnered with the City of Fredericksburg to expand its MakerLab operation from the Fredericksburg branch to an IdeaSpace at 1616 Princess Anne Street.

The IdeaSpace will offer cameras, lighting, audio recording, and production and editing equipment as part of a studio space that will be available to the public, local businesses, and library staff. All of the technology will be incorporated into the already successful MakerLab badging program, which trains participants on the use of certain pieces of equipment.

Much of the equipment offered at IdeaSpace is otherwise cost-prohibitive to students and hobbyists. Access to high-end technologies, free of charge, provides opportunities our youth may not otherwise have to build essential technology skills. High quality audio recordings made in our sound isolation booth can be used for school projects, auditions, music demos, and podcasts. IdeaSpace will offer a specialized scanner for digitizing photos and documents as well as video transfer equipment to update home video and audio recordings to digital format. Users will be able to easily preserve and archive personal videos, artwork, and print photographs by digitizing them. An industry-grade 3D printer will have the ability to make large builds to produce prototypes, art projects, and custom 3D designs for a variety of uses. Specialty sewing equipment will offer the opportunity for fashion design, textile art, quilting, and home projects.

Central Rappahannock Regional Library recently purchased Pepper, a social humanoid robot. This new, cutting-edge technology is rare in public libraries and will assist local teens and school-aged children in familiarity with robots overall and artificial intelligence in particular. Pepper can read a story, answer questions, interact with people and can be used as a teaching device for coding, artificial intelligence, and computing. 

STEM training will continue to be essential for future employment; even creative fields are now technology-based. With support from The Duff McDuff Green, Jr. Fund of The Community Foundation, IdeaSpace will support area students’ ambitions for future jobs in engineering, healthcare, defense, architecture, design, computing and more.

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