PEOPLE can sign up to learn how to design and print 3D objects, immerse themselves in virtual and augmented reality at libraries across Gloucestershire’s six districts.
Gloucestershire Libraries’ innovation lab network also includes a digital design studio, podcast recording equipment, laser cutting and micro-computers.
And residents can learn about coding and take party in workshops by signing up for a flexible membership of £15.
There’s a lab at Coleford, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Stroud and Chipping Campden and people of all ages are welcome to join.
Fire, community safety and libraries cabinet member Dave Norman (C, Grange) says the scheme provides a starting point for people to get involved in exploring new technology skills.
“Libraries are no longer just about books. Libraries should be a community resource to be used by the people in any way we find can be used,” he said.
“This is a start point and as technology develop along with the needs of the community why shouldn’t we be speaking of the space we’ve got. I can clearly pick up the needs and uses of libraries change over time.”
Lab manager Andy Hayhoe says people of all ages are welcome to become a member and there is a mix of people who use the labs in each of the districts.
“Its clientele is quite varied. In the Forest. It’s quite a unique area, it’s predominantly freelance creators and kids. While Gloucester is its own beast.
“It’s a massive mix. Every lab is completely different based on its location.”
Seth Fright, who is based in Coleford which was the first lab to open in the county, says there is a real skills gap between people of different ages.
“People in my generation are comfortable with sitting in front of a computer and figuring it out.
“But for people who are older, it’s new to them and they’re learning it. But people who are younger, having grown up with smart screens and smartphones, don’t know how to type and work computer systems.
“Quite often you find it’s the same skills you’re teaching to people on either side.”
The lab experience includes 360° immersive film, 3D design, print, scanning and prototyping coding and micro-computers, virtual and augmented reality, advanced digital design and animation, full Adobe Creative Suite.
The lab network has a design studio for digital design, 3D modelling and animation, Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets, 3D scanners and printers, podcast recording equipment, 360° cameras and editing software along with micro-computers and programmable robots.