A new digital "creator space" was the goal when District library Consultant Linda Filkosky applied for grant money last October.
In June, she learned Altoona Area Public Library would be receiving $20,274 through the Library Services and Technology Act to build a state-of-the-art multimedia room on the library's second floor.
"This creator space is a real upcoming topic for libraries," she said. It had been in the back of her mind for some time to create "the great equalizer" - giving access to technology that most couldn't otherwise afford.
She said when thinking about the kind of equipment the room would need, she was reminded of her children's high school senior projects, which required them to film something or create a tangible product.
Filkosky also contacted Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center directors to ask what equipment their students might need, such as for those studying graphic arts.
"They're doing programs, and the kids don't have ... a way to practice" outside the classroom, she said. "How wonderful to provide something up-to-date for these students."
She said that the room will be available to other patrons as well, especially for those who may want to record an instructional YouTube video or use the camera to record an oral history.
"We were just trying to appeal to everybody," she said.
In the coming months, library directors will work on setting up the space on the second floor of Altoona's library, likely in the same area as a computer room, which will be moved.
While completion will take a year, Filkosky said some items might be available to use as early as Christmas.
Some of the room's equipment will include new computers and software, as well as a moveable green screen, digital cameras and microphones.
Sound tiles will be placed on the ceiling to create the right acoustics, and there will be music-composition capabilities, too.
Executive Director Jennifer Knisely said library services have had to change as technology changes, which is at a rapid pace.
She said in response to that need, the district has worked hard to upgrade computers, buy ebooks and train staff so they can show others how to use their iPads, Kindles and computers.
"In thinking about the future of what library services will mean to our community, our library is thinking about ways to adapt how we get information to the public and thinking about how the public wants to get that information."
Those who cannot buy computers and related programs or digital equipment themselves now will have a resource in the library, which Knisely said will be made available to all within the Blair-Bedford-Huntingdon district.
Some library staff are also thinking of ways to use the equipment to record data and create video archives to preserve for future generations.
"I've been waiting a year for this," Filkosky said excitedly. "This will be a great place for everybody in the whole district to use."
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.