- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - Noelle Neff has only been in the position of library director at Keene Memorial library for a little more than a week, but she is already in the process of making big things happen at the facility.

Neff, who formerly worked as a librarian in Phoenix, is in the process of bringing a Think Space to the second-floor of the library.

The Think Space will consist of a graphics and production studio - comprised of 3D printers, MacBook Computers, a sound and production studio and graphic design center, she said.

Neff said libraries across the country are shifting toward more technology-centered practices to help fully engage patrons who walk through its doors.

“Traditionally libraries just did print, but now we want to give people access to technology, and help people build and grow these skills,” Neff said. “It’s hard to say sometimes because people get a little upset, but libraries aren’t being used to just collect books anymore. It’s starting to lean even more toward technology and programming now.

The Fremont Tribune (https://bit.ly/20gK8aq ) reports that currently, grant proposals are being created that would help raise the necessary funds to purchase the necessary equipment.

The first grant proposal will be complete Feb. 1, Neff said.

Partnering with the library is The Digg Site Productions. The non-profit organization is dedicated to educating the public through documentary films, to providing an accredited documentary film camp to high school and college students and to expanding film opportunities in Nebraska.

The company, run by Stacy Heatherly, will provide knowledge and training to help the Think Space get up and running.

Neff said she plans to reach out to the school district to encourage people to participate in this new venture. It will be an educational experience for all parties involved, she said.

“I view the library as an educational center,” she said. “I want to teach people production - teach them how to do all of it. There are so many different things that this will help people of all ages learn . I want to be part of the educational system.”

Neff believes that the library is the perfect place for a Think Take to be located.

“They can come in here and learn, and even work on projects of their own. It’s like a big think tank,” Neff said. “We want to bring out creativity. It’s not like anything is graded, we just want to provide all of these different things, and just set them free to learn. That’s the great thing about the library, we aren’t going to charge you to come through the door, we just want you to come in and use it.”

“It’s almost like a consultant,” Neff said. “It’s wonderful support, it’s almost like a miracle to have them helping us out. This is a very small town, and to get this type of support is wonderful.”

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Information from: Fremont Tribune, https://www.fremontneb.com


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