BBS News

Message to the Community: Media Production Studios for Public Libraries

The Long Island Library Research Council (LILRC) hosted a presentation given by BBS Partner Kevin J. Walsh, AIA, ALEP, LEED AP this morning regarding the topic of broadcast media in public libraries. The presentation is available at the LILRC vimeo link.

We are all continuing to move forward and seek ways to engage one another and connect beyond Zoom and other platforms. Public libraries have been evolving for many years now to host active programs within their buildings and on their sites, as opposed to being traditional “warehouses” for books. The balance of traditional and innovative roles parallels similar developments within educational and professional work environments.

So, what about creating broadcast centers within public libraries? First, each library should set its goals and then develop a program to follow in order to achieve these goals. Is the intention to simply provide space for audio podcasts? Or, to the other extreme, are libraries getting into the video production field complete with editing and post-production activities? Would additional specialized staff be needed? Could mentoring be encouraged between tech-savvy patrons and those less familiar? These topics were explored through the twenty-minute presentation and in the forty-minute open forum that followed.

The discussion explored the basics as well as extraordinary possibilities. Once a programmatic goal has been established, it’s time to take a look at the basic utilities and services of the building. Is the electric service adequate to take on more load? What about the HVAC system and technology systems? Then, is the building of an historic nature? How would this affect the design approach of a renovation?

Next we explored the notion of either converting community rooms into black box theaters, setting aside seating areas for more casual podcasts, or simply assembling a “pack and go” set of equipment that could be used in a somewhat ‘nomadic’ way within the library, outside on the library site, or even off-site. The full range of equipment was discussed, from the individual smart phone to microphones, cameras, green screens and digital editing stations.

How could the public participate in-person within the library? What protocols would have to be put in place to mitigate “soapbox rants?” How would varying sized groups be accommodated spatially? Could pre-manufactured sound booths be used in lieu of permanent construction? How much could all of this cost?

There are many questions to discuss, consider and answer. This is an evolving topic that is sure to start influencing future library planning and design.  

Kevin J. Walsh AIA, ALEP, LEED AP
Planning & Design
(631) 294-0703

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