By T. R. Hawkins
In the heart of downtown Meridian, located at the intersection of Main St. and Broadway, you’ll find a new organization that is well worth checking out. Meridian Library’s new subsidiary company, unBound, is described on their website as “a technology library and educational facility to experiment with emerging technology, attend classes, meetings, and other events. unBound provides access to the equipment and instruction for you to Make, Learn, and Design on your own, with special focus on supporting entrepreneurs, small business owners, and Millennials.”
So, obviously, we decided to check it out.
One of the first things you’ll notice about unBound is how quickly the energetic team of employees will want to show you around the building and tell you about all of the many different sects of technology they have to offer. (Spoiler alert: It’s a lot).
It seems that there is something here for anyone who might have interest in bettering themselves with modern technology. Whether that might be learning how to use a 3D-printer (from the conceptual stage, designing your 3D print on a computer, to actually using their machines to create them), beginning to use Photoshop, Illustrator, or any of the Adobe Creative Cloud programs in their computer lab (For free, mind you - and these programs can run upwards of $200/ a month if you bought them for home use), or making use of their in-house recording studio.
Yep. You read that correctly. They’ve built a small recording studio in one of the rooms. Once inside, you’ll find two Macs with Audacity, Garage Band, and a few other recording programs already installed on them. They provide Blue Yeti Microphones, MIDI keyboards, and the digitizing equipment to ensure you have everything you need to record whatever you want - a new song, perhaps? A silly podcast with your friends? Voice-over work for an animated project? All of these are possible to record at UnBound. For free.
Not only do they offer all of these spaces / tools to utilize, but they also teach free classes on all of them. And, as this is a subsidiary of the Meridian Library, they have educational books on all of these subjects that you can check out for a week at a time.
Speaking of checking things out for a week at a time - Here’s just a few of the items that you can check out for a week at a time: an LCD digital projector, a GoPro Hero 4, a Canon DSLR camera (with three additional lenses - they have a variety to choose from), a mobile podcast kit, bicycles (complete with helmets, lights, and locks) and mobile hotspots for wifi on-the-go. The only time you have to pay for these tools is if you are late to returning them. Standard library practice.
Inside unBound you will also find a large open-area in the center complete with work tables and, as a nice bonus, some free coffee. They have in-house WiFi that is free to use, which makes this space a nice alternative to working on your computer from home, and an excellent spot to work on group projects with your friends. Off to the south-side of the building is a section where you can book time to give presentations or host meetings, complete with an HD TV, white boards, and some modern-contemporary furniture.
If you’re interested in exploring the seemingly endless possibilities that come from modern technology, you might have just found a second home at unBound.