Demystifying the Library: Student Multimedia Studio

How students’ needs are met in Portage County’s tallest building

The University Library is one of the most popular buildings at Kent State University, serving as a study spot, a place to grab coffee and an academic resource for students – not to mention being the tallest building in Portage County. With so many floors, departments and resources, it can be hard for students to navigate everything the library offers.  

“University Libraries is committed to meeting the needs of every student, regardless of their major, rank or class standing,” said Ken Burhanna, professor and dean of University Libraries. "Our knowledgeable faculty and staff, welcoming spaces for every type of study setting and excellent resources provide proven tools for academic success.”

As finals season looms, Kent State Today takes a deeper look into University Libraries in a three-part series. Up first, a makerspace for creativity.

Student Multimedia Studio  

Hilary Kennedy

The Student Multimedia Studio (SMS) is on the first floor of the library. This makerspace fosters creativity and serves as a collaborative workspace for all students.  

“The SMS is a hands-on workspace for students to create a wide range of innovative projects from making visual presentations to recording audio, editing video, designing in 3D and so much more,” said Hilary Kennedy, lecturer and head of the Student Multimedia Studio.

The makerspace originally started as a closet-sized computer lab on the third floor of the library 25 years ago. In 2003, it was relocated to the first floor and has been a go-to spot for students and classes since.

“We’ve been progressively evolving over the years to meet the changing needs of our students by offering a wide range of tech and possibilities,” Kennedy said.

In 2013, the Student Multimedia Studio received its first 3D printer, which the students love.

3D Printer in the Student Multimedia Studio in the library

“Our 3D printing service is one of the most popular things in the studio. It’s been popular for both class projects and for students just interested in making things in 3D,” Kennedy said.  

Other technologies include general multimedia computers that contain Adobe software, an audio recording booth, a podcasting studio, an ASL recording studio, digitizing stations, a Cricut and Raspberry Pi’s.  

Recording Room

All of these technologies are free for students to use for educational, professional and personal projects.  

“We’re kind of like a hidden gem,” said Kennedy. “The studio is set up as an enclosed space because it can get noisy when there’s a lot of creating going on. It might seem like it’s a space that only certain users have access to. But that’s far from the truth.”

Students do not need any prior experience. Kennedy and the student consultants are always around to help users navigate the makerspace and learn how to use certain technologies.  

Student Multimedia Studio in the library

“It’s important for students to feel welcome in our space and comfortable asking for help. We realize users come from different backgrounds, different skill levels and prior experience so we’re just here to meet users where their specific needs are,” Kennedy said. “My suggestion to students who are just curious about the space and feel intimidated is just to take that step in and wander through, just take a look or come in and study. We encourage you to use the space.”  

Learn more about the Student Multimedia Studio.

The library may seem daunting for even the bravest of students, but there is nothing to fear. The tallest building in Portage Country is filled to the brim with resources and librarians, faculty and staff eager to help students succeed. 

Parts two and three of this story will feature Student and Research Success and Special Collections & Archives.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 09:41 AM
Updated: Thursday, November 16, 2023 11:25 AM
Cassidy Grentz, Paul Burlinghaus, Flash Communications