Idea Lab

The Idea Lab can help you develop your ideas, learn design skills, and spark your entrepreneurial spirit. The Idea Lab is a hands-on collaborative space for you to explore — you can get connected with community experts and have access to a curated collection of business and maker resources.

The Idea Lab is open to all Erie County residents with a valid library card and all Erie County Public Library cardholders in good standing. Located in the Blasco Memorial Library, the Idea Lab features:

  • Idea Lab Makerspace: Design, create, and build using shared equipment. Try out our 3D printers, sewing machines, vinyl cutter, design software, and more.
  • Media Lab: Record music, video, podcasts, and more in our digital media lab.
  • Community Classroom: Learn new skills from our library team and community experts.This room comfortably seats up to 30 people.
  • Collaboratory 102 & 103: Small groups can meet and work collaboratively on projects and ideas. This space comfortably seats up to five people.
  • Job & Career Resources and Support: Access a curated collection of job and career resources. Meet with our community partners who will help you navigate your career path.

Idea Lab Hours:

Monday – Thursday 9 AM – 8 PM | Friday & Saturday 9 AM – 4:30 PM | Sundays – Closed

Materials and Use Fees

Usage of equipment in the Makerspace and Media Lab is free, though fees for some materials may apply. To use the equipment in the Idea Lab, you will need a valid library card in good standing.

A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Makerspace and Media Lab. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space.

Learn More

Idea Lab Makerspace

Idea Lab Makerspace

Design, create, and build using shared equipment.

Equipment and tools in the Idea Lab are available at no charge to library card holders, generally on a first-come, first-served basis during open makerspace hours.

Specific tools or equipment may be reserved for projects at the discretion of staff. Please call 814-451-6939 or email staff to verify availability.

A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Makerspace. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space.

Media Lab

Media Lab

Record music, video, podcasts, and more in our digital media lab.

To use the equipment in the Media Lab, you will need a valid library card in good standing.

A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Makerspace and Media Lab. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space

Equipment in the Media Lab is available at no charge to library card holders, generally on a first come, first served basis during open hours. Specific equipment may be reserved for projects at the discretion of staff. Please call 814-451-6939 or email to verify availability.

You many reserve the Media Lab for up to two hours at a time. To reserve your time in the lab, please call 451-6939. Online sign-ups are coming soon!

When you arrive to the library, please check in to the Idea Lab and a staff member will get you set up in the Media Lab.

Idea Lab FAQs

What equipment is in the Idea Lab Makerspace?

Hardware:

  • 4 - Ultimaker 3-3D Printers
  • Matter & Form 3D Scanner
  • Mynt3D Doodlers Pens
  • US Cutter SC Series Vinyl Cutter
  • Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine
  • Jewelry-making equipment
  • Fiber Art supplies
  • Glowforge 3D Laser Printer (Coming Soon)
  • Mayku Formbox Vacuum Former (Coming Soon)
  • 2 - SkyTech Omega PCs w/ 24" Dual Monitor
  • Funai VHS to DVD converter
  • HP DesignJet T520 Large Format Printer
  • AmazonBasics Portable Photo Studio
  • CanaKit RaspberryPi3

Software:

  • Cura
  • KuboTek KeyCreator
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Microsoft Office 2016

Want to learn how to use some of the software in the Idea Lab and Media Lab, but not sure where to start? Try our Universal Class database where you get take a full suite of online courses including: Adobe Classes, a Graphic Design, Computer Programming, and even Microsoft Office courses.

What equipment is in the Media Lab?

Hardware

  • 1 - Lenovo IdeaCentre 720 Windows 10 PC, with dual 27" monitors
  • Chromakey Green Screen 10’x13’
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera
  • Microphones
  • Monitoring Headphones
  • Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Kit, Audio Interface & Recording Bundle
  • LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Light 24”x24” (2)
  • 66” lightweight camera tripod

Software

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Audacity
  • Fruity Loops
  • Microsoft Office 2016
  • Shotcut

Want to learn how to use some of the software in the Idea Lab and Media Lab, but not sure where to start? Try our Universal Class database where you get take a full suite of online courses including:  Adobe Classes, a Graphic DesignComputer Programming, and even Microsoft Office courses.

What are the policies & procedures to use the Idea Lab Makerspace and Media Lab?

To use the equipment in the Idea Lab, you will need a valid card in good standing.

  • A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Idea Lab Makerspace and Media Lab. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space.
  • Users (or if minors, their parents/guardians) are responsible for any fees incurred for loss or damage to ECPL property, not associated with normal wear and tear, that is the result of inappropriate or unauthorized use of tools, equipment, or consumable materials, or for clean-up of the tools, equipment or the space. ECPL is not responsible for any damage to, or loss or theft of, users’ personal property including electronic files left on ECPL computers.
  • Equipment and tools in the Idea Lab are available at no charge to library card holders, generally on a first-come, first-served basis during open makerspace hours. Specific tools or equipment may be reserved for projects at the discretion of staff. Please call 814-451-6939 or email to verify availability.
  • Some fees for materials may apply. Users are welcome to bring in staff-approved consumable materials for use with the equipment and tools, except the 3D printers.

At its discretion, staff reserves the right to disallow the use of any tools, equipment, or consumable materials, or to halt, delete, or disallow the creation of items that violate any library policy. Projects must be approved by staff prior to use to ensure that proper file format, size and materials are being used. Approval to use the Idea Lab does not constitute endorsement by ECPL of the uses to which the space is put or the products produced therein.

How can I 3D Print?

Prior to independent use of the 3D printers you must complete our Learn to 3D Print class. View available classes and sign up here or call 814-451-6927 to register.

ECPL supplies 3D printer filament for a fee to users. Please consult with staff about the availability of consumable material before planning a project.

3D printers may be scheduled for 2-hour blocks after you are certified. Get certified by taking Learn to 3D print. Sign up here for a 3D Printing appointment.

For specific questions related to 3D printing in the Idea Lab Makerspace, please call 814-451-6939.

How can I reserve a Design PC?

PCs are available in the Idea Lab Makerspace with Tinkercad, Thingiverse, Adobe Creative Suite, and more. You many reserve the Design PCs for up to two hours at a time. To reserve your time in the lab, please call 451-6939, or you can sign up here. When you arrive to the library, please check in to the Idea Lab and a staff member will get you set up.

Please note that you must be certified by library staff to use the 3D printers.

A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Makerspace and Media Lab. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space.

How can I reserve the Media Lab?

You many reserve the Media Lab for up to two hours at a time. To reserve your time in the lab, please call 451-6939. You can also sign-up here. When you arrive to the library, please check in to the Idea Lab and a staff member will get you set up in the Media Lab.

Equipment in the Media Lab is available at no charge to library card holders, generally on a first come, first served basis during open hours. Specific equipment may be reserved for projects at the discretion of staff. Please call 814-451-6939 or email to verify availability.

A signed Idea Lab Agreement is required of all users and visitors to the Makerspace and Media Lab. Exception is given to individuals or groups on staff-lead tours of the space.

Can I donate items to the Idea Lab Makerspace?

Yes, donations are greatly appreciated! ECPL accepts new or gently used donations of the following items by appointment:

  • Tools in clean and good working condition
  • Consumable material that is relevant to programs being offered in the space

Staff reserves the right to decline donations, as well as remove those that no longer support makerspace activities. If requested, staff will provide a letter of receipt that donors may fill out for tax purposes. Staff is not qualified to determine the value of any donation. It is up to the donor to assign a value for tax purposes. Please email library staff to set up an appointment.

 

Community Classroom & Collaboratories

Community Classroom

Community Classroom

Learn new skills from our library team and community experts. From new tech skills to job searching help, this shared space provides the perfect setting for knowledge sharing. This room comfortably seats up to 30 people. A wide-array of classes are taught in this space. Visit our Events Calendar for more information and to sign up for classes.

At this time, the public may not reserve this room for personal or business use, but you may propose program ideas to our Idea Lab staff. Please email Idea Lab Staff to share your ideas for programs and workshops in our community classroom.

Collaboratory 102 & 103

Collaboratory 102 & 103

Collaboratory Rooms are available for small groups to meet and work collaboratively on projects in 1-hour increments. The rooms comfortably seat up to five people. They are available on a first come, first serve basis.

To check for availability, visits our Events Calendar, or call 814-451-6927. A valid library card is required.

Job & Career Resources and Support

Job & Career Resources and Support

Access a curated collection of job and career resources. Meet with our community partners who will help you navigate your career path.

We also offer weekly office hours in our Collaboratories by the following organizations:

SCORE
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Innovation Collaborative
Northwest Tri-County IU-5

Idea Lab Location

The Idea Lab is in the Blasco Library located on Lake Erie’s beautiful bayfront, just a short walk from Downtown Erie, on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. The Blasco Library is located on a public bus line stop with ample parking for bicycles and vehicles.

Contact

For questions or to register for a program please call 814-451-6927. For questions regarding the Idea Lab Makerspace and Media Lab, please call 814-451-6939 or email idealab@eriecountypa.gov

Upcoming Events