Saturday I went to MLK Library for a tour of their Fab Lab and Studio Lab. The Fab Lab is a maker studio with 3D printers, laser cutters and even a wire cutter. The Studio Lab has state-of-the-art equipment for audio and visual recording, including a green screen setup.
I was pretty impressed. If you have a DC library card, you will have access to some pretty cool resources to create whatever you want for free. I've always been a big fan of my local library, but MLK is raising the bar, big time.
How to use the labs
It's clear that the library is really excited about opening these labs up to the public, but it seems a little bit rushed. In order to use the equipment, you first have to sign up for an orientation session for the specific lab--which are right now only available via paper sign up forms at the library (the first ones start this week). Then, you wait until they come out with the schedule of classes for each piece of equipment/skill. THEN you sign up for that and once you've taken a class (or possibly a few? it wasn't clear) you can rent out studio time. They kept saying they were figuring things out, which I get, but I would've thought the logistics of how people can use the amazing studio labs is part of the prep prior to launch--not something they are just going to figure out as they go along.
I really hope they plan classes during the evenings and weekends so working people (like myself) can use the labs. I also hope they offer classes in other languages and do specialized courses so they are accessible to lots of types of people. I'm curious to see how many people will sign up, especially considering this is a free alternative to places like Tech Shop in Crystal City.
Send them your ideas
If you're into this, I suggest you contact them so they know that people are interested! The good part about the process not being set in stone is that they seem really open to suggestions. So please, everyone ask for the Electroloom.