Festival previews new directions in libraries, digital content

By Stephen A. Smith

King County Library System

Libraries have always been the place to turn to for information, ideas and inspiration.

And though the technology people use to access information has changed over time ­— from microfiche readers, record players and tape recorders to today’s computers and digital formats — the King County Library System’s mission has remained the same: helping patrons gain the knowledge they seek in whatever form suits them.

In its 75 years, KCLS has continued to explore information technology trends, embracing new ideas to enhance the experiences of our patrons. With the rise of the internet and constantly evolving technologies, libraries continue to adapt.

In an era when anyone with a cellphone can create content and post it instantly for others to see and hear, the need for quality digital content has become an increasingly important issue.

For a preview of how digital content can be created, and with a special focus on music, KCLS presents the Xperience Music & Technology Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, at the Bellevue Library, 1111 110th Ave. NE. This free public event will bring together musicians and technical experts who will demonstrate various tools to explore the convergence of music and technology. The two-day experiential learning adventure will feel much like a music festival, with opportunities to attend hands-on workshops and classes, and converse with leaders in the fields of art and music.

The festival is aimed at those who want to have fun while exploring ways of creating successful digital content. Artists will discuss how to improve writing skills for crafting lyrics, or the ability to play various instruments for performing and/or recording before “putting it out there” for the world to see and hear.

The Xperience Music & Technology Festival is an offshoot of KCLS’ ideaX program, an innovative approach to learning and collaboration supported by the KCLS Foundation. As a “learning incubator” for new ideas based on people’s interests, ideaX provides access to digital technologies that can turn those ideas into reality. Long-term plans for KCLS libraries include creating spaces where people can engage in hands-on learning, including 3-D printing, programming, and even sound booths for creating digital media and music.

For more information and to see the full schedule of events, visit kcls.org/xperience.

Stephen A. Smith was recently named the interim director of the King County Library System.