BLOOMINGTON - An artist with a flair for color, Beverly Bronson is hoping the Bloomington Public Library’s digital media lab will help energize her and boost her ability to sell her work.

“I’d love to be here 24-7,” she said last week as she scanned her paintings onto the library’s computers.

Bronson was the first user of the library’s lab, which opened April 15. She planned to scan her paintings, to store them digitally, and then use Adobe Photoshop to “perfect” them, possibly by combining two paintings to make one picture.

“I love it. I love books, but this is just cool. There’s more to libraries than books,” Bronson said.

In addition to Adobe’s Creative Suite, the lab offers access to the video editing program called Final Cut Pro X, by way of two large Apple Macintosh computers. A Wacom drawing tablet, a VCR for video importing and microphones are available, and users can check-out hard drives to take home.

The lab is open to people with a library card in good standing. It can be reserved by an individual or groups of up to six people in two-hour increments by calling 309-557-8941 or by inquiring at the reference desk. Users younger than 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Justin Lomelino, who works in the library’s information technology department, helped build the lab. He demonstrated the drawing tablet by pressing an ink-less pen to a gray pad, making lines appear on the computer screen.

He said the tablet allows an artist to change the color of lines or create a shape that you wouldn’t ordinarily see, making it easier, for example, to create a row of trees or leaves upon a tree.

“It’s an opportunity to do things with it that you couldn’t do traditionally,” Lomelino said. “Someone with a little bit of creativity and imagination can do neat things with it.”

While artists and filmmakers will find many of the tools useful, so too will small businesses, which could design their own advertising and brochures, he said.

Lomelino is building an extensive library of instructional resources within the room to make sure users can get the most use from the equipment. Instructional videos are at “BPL Pages” at www.bloomingtonlibrary.org.

“We’re hoping people can teach themselves,” said Rhonda Massie, the library’s marketing manager. She said the instructional materials also will help push the boundaries of people who already know how to use the equipment.

Library Director Georgia Bouda said she didn’t have a total cost number for the tools and programs in the lab but said the value is tremendous for users. “If you wanted to fix a photograph, you couldn’t buy this yourself,” she said.

She said other libraries are adding similar media labs.

“We have such a strong IT department here … it seemed like a fit,” Bouda said.

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