Posted by Steve Lettau on May 25, 2017

By Erik S. Hanley

CEDARBURG - Interested in flying a drone, converting old media to digital, designing projects with Adobe software or maybe experiencing virtual reality?

Within the next year, all of these new offerings will be available at the Cedarburg Public Library.

Assistant Director David Nimmer said the library has received a total of $12,000 in grants with half from the Greater Cedarburg Foundation and the other half from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Friends of the Cedarburg Library. These funds will be used to bring four new features to the library that were highly requested in the latest community survey distributed last year.

“We’re pretty much doing all the top requested things,” Nimmer said.

Adobe Creative Cloud will be the first new feature coming to the library in June. Nimmer said classes will be offered at the library to train people how to use the programs.

He said the library is still looking for a few more Adobe experts to help run classes — if interested, contact the library at 262-375-7640.

Due to the cost of the software, not all computers will have it. It will be offered both on desktops and laptops, however, offering some flexibility.

Virtual reality will follow in the fall with a full-body experience. Formerly, the library did have virtual reality headpieces similar to what people can now do with their smartphones, Nimmer said, but this is much different.

The new system will be a virtual reality rig where people can stand up, walk around and use their arms to control a virtual space. Nimmer said it would offer a new way to experience places around the world as well as play games. Programming opportunities for patrons to design and test their own creations will be offered as well.

“We’re trying to not only have an experience but something that draws on your creative juices,” Nimmer said.

In early 2018, patrons will be able to visit a digitization lab to convert audio, photos, and video into digital files. Nimmer said there will be some training on how to do the conversion. The Cedarburg Public Library is primarily focusing on audio conversion as many other libraries have focused on photos and video.

In addition to the lab, ways to use a smartphone and certain apps to digitize analog material will also be taught.

Drones are expected in March.

Patrons can check out the drones, though Nimmer said a class or certification may be required so they are operated properly and safely. The library is expected to offer “a variety of different drones,” he said.

Just like with other expensive equipment, patrons will have to sign a document saying they are liable if the drone is destroyed.

Nimmer also said the library may offer the drones to school events or for use at local festivals.

Cedarburg is not alone. Libraries are much more than books nowadays with high-tech offerings like these popping up in many across the country.

“Libraries are definitely stepping into this world and embracing it,” Nimmer said.