Access to emerging technology like 3D printers and software to edit video and create podcasts, is now more available to the public.
Meridian’s unBound business and technology library is reopening in a new and larger space this April.
“We have a lot of industry sectors that remain low wages,” Library Director Gretchen Caserotti said. “Now with the pandemic, if people have high technical proficiency that’s going to open a lot of doors for career advancement, for higher wage salaries, for positions and starting more businesses; because as we grow on the residential side we need to make sure that our commercial and our business community is continuing to grow alongside it.”
unBound originally opened in 2015 but later closed in 2019. The new building is at 722 NE 2nd St. and will open the week of April 19. When you look out the window near some 3D printers at the front entrance, you can actually get a glimpse of the old building across the street.
The purpose of unBound
The library was made to help support small business owners, local people and entrepreneurs.
“The best way I can summarize it is unBound is basically a public library whose collection is hardware and software,” Caserotti said. “We are really trying to not compete with businesses but rather be a pipeline or a connector.”
Caserotti and Nick Grove, the library supervisor, shared several stories of people coming in and getting their start at unBound, including a group of people creating a podcast. Grove said the group recorded their first episode in their car but after hearing about the library, they began using the recording studio- something they otherwise may not have access to.
The new two-story space feels open and welcoming, with tons of natural light and a modern design.
“It has the dark ceilings, the white contrasts lines. Our architects really were struck by some histories of downtown with irrigation lines for example,” Caserotti said. “… but also this blending of old and new… And so now we have this public library that’s focused on emerging technology and so I think they’ve been really effective in kind of this idea of blending, old and new in the design elements that are incorporated into all these different little aspects.”
The 2019 Plant Facility Levy Measure paid for unBounds’ renovation. The levy gave the library 14 million to renovate, modernize and expand. This was the first funding measure the Meridian library had passed since 1995.
Similar to a college, the library gives people access to devices and software such as Adobe, printers, a digital conference room, a recording studio and a laser cutter.
“One of the things that we looked at especially when we were getting ready for the previous building was, ‘how do we make equipment and software that people had in college, but they don’t have access to anymore?’” Grove said. “They might not be in the job that they want to be in, but they still want to have access to that stuff. So, they will be providing that for people that are, not quite where they want to be but don’t have access to it from school anymore.”
Because UnBound is a public library, it’s free for people to use the equipment and seek help. However, there are fees for printing and while the meeting and recording rooms are free for the first hour, there is a $15 charge for each additional hour after.
The team at unBound has purchased all of this equipment through various grants sent to the Meridian Library Foundation. Caserotti and Grove said they are always looking for additional grants and donations to bring in more equipment.
More information on unBound is available on the library website.