Inspiring creativity and creation – Vancouver Public Library’s Inspiration Lab

Vancouver Public Library’s (VPL) Inspiration Lab is the city’s newest creative destination – a place that nurtures talent and creativity. Libraries have always been about creating, exploring and bringing ideas to life, and the concept for the Lab came from library users themselves; they wanted to learn how to use technology for digital creation, including self- publishing, photo editing, audio recording and music.

VPL’s Inspiration Lab opened in spring 2015. It is a hands-on digital media hub: 7,500 square feet of custom-built space with sound studios, video production and editing, analog-to-digital conversion and self-publishing software, all on high-performance computers. All of it is free to use – for the first time giving Vancouverites access to creative technology, a place to use it, and training from VPL staff and library partners from the city’s technology and creative communities.

VPL’s Inspiration Lab is home to podcasters, award-winning independent filmmakers, family historians and community music groups – just some of the many users who have flocked to the space to capture and share their stories. Among them are current and former youth in care who are using the space to create podcasts, talking about their experiences and issues. For example, a long-time street musician used the space to record his first CD and a grandmother who worked in the Lab to create a video of stories, music and images from her youth for her grandchildren. Vancouver has embraced the Inspiration Lab; in its first eight months the Lab had more than 4,400 studio bookings with more than 7,300 users. There were more than 300 workshops, classes, and training sessions drawing more than 1,850 attendees.

Find out more about the VPL Inspiration Lab at: vpl.ca/InspirationLab

Excerpt from  Inspiring Libraries, Connecting Communities: a vision for public library service in B.C.