- September 1, 2021
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Published: July 15, 2021 7:30 pm
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Steve Hill, 54, is back in the recording studio, producing music. He’s getting hands-on experience using high-tech audio equipment.
“I was here almost every day up until the pandemic hit. Once everything shut down, we’d drive by and say, ‘Look, there’s the library, we used to go there,’” Hill said.
The recording studio is at the Orange County Library System’s downtown Orlando branch, part of the Melrose Center on the second floor. After being closed for nearly a year during the pandemic, it’s back open at a limited capacity.
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There’s video and photo studios. You can check out a camera to take photos and videos. You can get creative in the “Fabrication Lab” with 3D and laser printers. You can also get some job experience with flight and construction simulators.
The Melrose Center is named after the late Dorothy Lumley Melrose.
“She was a teacher and avid library supporter, and she was also enthusiastic about emerging technology,” Melrose Center Director Jim Myers said.
In 2012, Melrose’s son donated $1 million to the Orange County Library system in her honor. The library matched that donation and created the Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation and Creativity. The center is 26,000 square feet on the library’s second floor.
“I can’t say enough about this place. The Melrose family … what a gift, what an amazing gift,” Hill said.
The studios, equipment, labs and other tools are available for free to OCLS library members. To access some of the areas, you may be required to take an introductory and instructional course to learn how to use the equipment.
Hill said the Melrose Center is a great place to collaborate with other creators and even learn skills for a career change.
“I’ve gained confidence and experience on a lot of these products,” Hill said. “I’m using this to springboard into comfortable employment.”
The Melrose Center is staffed with professionals who can teach you how to use the equipment, and assist you along the way.
“We have experts in their fields. If you take a photography class, the instructor is an actual photographer. The audio classes are taught by audio engineers,” Myers said.
The Melrose Center is now open at a limited capacity with some introductory courses being held online. You can make reservations and sign up for classes on the OCLS website for free, you just need an OCLS library card. Some in-person classes and meetups are expected to begin in September.
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Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.
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