idea lab FAQs

What is an idea lab?

The MCLS idea lab program connects people with learning opportunities, using technology. Want to learn how to edit your photos? Make robots? Practice using a sewing machine? Sell something online? Take a selfie … on purpose! Record a hologram? The idea lab gives our community the chance to do any of these things – and more! – simply by having a library card.

When did the idea labs open?

The first idea lab opened in Palm City at the Cummings Library in 2012. Since then, Martin County Library System has opened a total of five idea labs, with the goal of having an idea lab at each of the six branches. 

What equipment do the idea labs have?

It depends on which idea lab branch you’re at! Check out our main idea labs @ mcls page to see what equipment you can use at ANY local branch.

How do I access the idea lab equipment?

Most idea lab equipment is available on a first come, first served basis. Some equipment requires an idea lab card. 

How do I get an idea lab card?

To upgrade to an idea lab card, you must sign an equipment agreement form and have a Martin County library card in good standing. The use of some equipment (eg, a sewing machine) also requires signing a liability waiver. See your local Library staff to upgrade your card today!

Will someone show me how to do all this?

We'll help get you started! Because the idea labs give our local community access to explore and discover technology, most of the equipment is self-service. But if you're not sure where to begin, just ask! If you're interested in taking a formal class, check out our idea lab Class Calendar. Also, don't forget to check out Lynda.com for more advanced and specialized on-demand learning opportunities.

Do I need to bring my own materials?

We have a limited quantity of materials, such as thread, fabric, vinyl, and cardstock. This material is designed for learning and/or practicing. If you’re working on a project that requires specific materials, you will want to bring your own. If you're not sure what to bring, just ask!

I can really check out cameras and laptops?

Yes! See a list of available equipment through our “take home tech” program. Equipment is available for 7-day checkout and requires an idea lab card. You can also place holds on equipment and pick up at your local branch through our online catalog, just like you would for a library book.

Martin County is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. To report an accessibility issue, request accessibility assistance regarding our website content, or to request a specific electronic format, please complete our Accessibility Feedback Form. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate all needs.

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