NCET explores Northern Nevada’s innovative technologies.
By Mikalee Byerman, special to the RGJ
If you graduated more than a few years ago, you may be well versed in the nuances of traditional college libraries, which typically feature a whisper-only policy, glares from watchful librarians, microfiche readers and card catalogs organized using the Dewey Decimal System.
But technology has ushered into existence a whole new era of “library.”
The University of Nevada’s Knowledge Center and its 295,000 square feet of innovation inspiration are widely regarded as the intellectual nexus of the region, housing an expansive collection of books, journals and data in both print and electronic formats, as well as an extensive collection of videos, DVDs and sound recordings that are accessible through state-of-the-art viewing and listening areas.
But the library has evolved into a technological marvel that goes beyond a repository for print and electronic information.
They are “dynamic learning sites not only for our students and faculty, but for a wide range of community members as well,” said Kathy Ray, Dean of Libraries and Teaching & Learning Technologies.
Case in point: In @One, on the first floor of the Knowledge Center, the resources are geared toward students learning innovation in communication techniques through digital and multimedia applications. Housed within the facility are the Sierra Pacific Dynamic Media Lab, 4K video studio, soundstage with green screen, sound booth/recording studio, the DataWorks Lab (with GIS, statistics, CAD, math and other productivity software) and a fully equipped print facility.
“There are pieces of equipment, hardware and software here available to any student who wants to learn it,” said Becky Contos, marketing and events manager for University Libraries. “We have Hollywood-level video production equipment, and students have the opportunity to work with faculty to use and master it.”
Also on campus is the DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library, one of the first academic libraries in the country to widely offer large-scale 3D printing. It is a specialty library for earth sciences, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, geological, mechanical, metallurgical and mining engineering.
It also is a national leader in the Makerspace arena and counted as a vital community innovation space. In addition to both large and small 3-D printers, DeLaMare is equipped with popular programmables such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, laser and vinyl cutters, Google glass, 3-D scanner and specialty software such as ArcGIS for conducting spatial analysis.
“Academic libraries like ours at the University of Nevada, Reno, provide a variety of rich opportunities for our students and faculty, as well as the people who live and work in northern Nevada,” said Dean Ray. “We want folks to know more about the valuable work being done at the University and in its libraries on behalf of Nevada citizens.”
Learn more about the University of Nevada, Reno’s Knowledge Center at NCET’s Tech Wednesday, Aug. 12. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit producing events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology.