They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and in Clearwater, the main library isn't just a place for research or reading time.
Four different maker spaces encourage people to get hands-on to learn, experiment and create.
"I think it's definitely an attractor for more people coming in,” Library Director Jennifer Obermaier said. “And it really supports the changing nature of what we consider traditional library services."
There's one studio on each of the four floors of the building.
The Creation Studio for Arts & Design is on the first floor and stocks common arts and crafts supplies along with high-tech tools like sewing machines and a laser engraver.
On the second floor is the Discovery Studio of Creative Learning. School-aged kids can play with microscopes and learn to build circuit boards.
“Getting them interested in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, or STEAM,” said Maker Studios Coordinator, Rino Landa.
Going up to the third floor you will find two separate spaces, the Innovation Studio and the Multimedia Studio.
“Geared towards those who are interested in learning more about technology and maybe expanding that technology for use in their business," Landa said.
“We are so proud to be a part of Clearwater Business SPARK, which is a network of public and private partners in the Clearwater area to help entrepreneurs either start a business, or those who have a small business and to grow their business,” said Obermaier.
You can learn new skills like printing 3D objects, or take advantage of multimedia equipment to record and produce audio and video.
“This space is fantastic,” said local author Tony Melvin.
Melvin tells us he frequently uses the camera, lights, and microphone to make promotional and training videos.
“To set this up, or hire a studio would cost thousands, so it's just wonderful for small businesses, local businesses to be able to use this sort of thing," Melvin said.
The final maker space is on the fourth floor, and it’s all about preserving history. Both local, and your own.
“People can come and bring in their pictures or their videos and have them scanned and have a digital copy of their actual physical treasures, family treasures," said Obermaier.
Free services, classes, and workshops you don't even need a library card to have access to.
"We want people to come in, kinda get re-excited about coming to the library, explore it in a different way,” Landa said. “The studios provide the tools and the resources to enrich and expand your learning in the world of technology, of arts, and really doing things not just reading about them in books.”
One studio has opened to the public each year starting in 2015.
The final space on the fourth floor officially opens this weekend and there is a grand opening celebration planned for Saturday at the main library from noon to 4 p.m.
There will be a ribbon cutting and a chance for you to tour all of the maker studios.