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University City Public Library receives grant for technology education initiatives

Assistant Children's Librarian LaRita Wright uses the library's video studio to record a storytime session.
Patrick Wall
LaRita Wright, assistant children's librarian, uses the library's video studio to record a storytime session.

The University City Public Library is using grant money to offer free film production classes, hire a part-time coding instructor and purchase film equipment.

The $68,000 grant from the University City Commission on Access and Local Original Programming is aimed at funding technology and filmmaking classes at the library.

“I think what we’re hoping is that people feel comfortable exploring technology [and feel] comfortable working with video,” University City Public Library Director Patrick Wall said. “There are so many things you can do with it online now, and so many opportunities for people, and we’re hoping to help people explore areas that they’re interested in.”

Previously, the library had partnerships with arts organizations like St. Louis Cinema to offer film camps. With this grant, library officials hoping to expand their reach and work with more groups, like COCA, to offer more classes.

“We’re going to have a series of film camps again for teens. We’re going to have some classes for younger children,” Wall said. “We’re also going to have some classes aimed at adults and older teens who want to do something professional, like how to make a commercial.”

The library has received multiple grants in the past for their technology services. Currently, patrons have access to a 3D printer and scanner, studio space and video editing programs.

“People can come in and do their own projects,” Wall said. “We can try and help them along, we can point them to other resources, but we’ve got enough stuff here where they can do a project completely on their own.”

Pointing to the growing demand for more technical and specialized skills, Wall said that the library is always working to expand technology-based initiatives.

“We’re constantly looking for things to help people engage with technology in their lives,” he said. “We’d like to provide training for people and also provide them with avenues where they can explore on their own.”

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