Walla Walla Public Library: New Media Lab

<p>Wiley Townsend</p>

Wiley Townsend

As the world waits for the Oscars this Sunday, in a little corner of South Eastern Washington, young film-makers have something of their own to celebrate.

Amelia Mott and Wiley Townsend are two young people in Walla Walla who have a passion for film.  And not just watching films, but creating, directing, and shooting films.

Luckily for them, their public library has just received a grant from the Paul Allen Foundation to expand its facilities.

Thirteen-year-old Amelia is an aspiring screen writer, who spends nearly every spare moment in the library.

"My family jokes that this is my first home," she laughs.

And 17-year-old Wiley is an aspiring director/ animator, and current junior at Walla Walla High School.

"Film making is definitely my passion. I don't know why that is, but I love it," explains Wiley.

The Walla Walla Public Library recently received $136, 000 grant and it will be putting it to good use.

The current boardroom will be converted into a media lab with camera equipment,  edit bays, software, and even instruction on how to use these tools. Now film making can be learned by anyone for the price of a library card.  

"It's pretty amazing. It's kinda one of those things where you feel like it's not your town getting all this equipment... but then you realize. Yeah, this is my town, and I can do this," says Amelia.

"Basically if you never had access to any of these tools before, now all you need is a library card, and you can go in and you have it right here," says Wiley.

Library director Beth Hudson has been working to make this a reality for two years. She says it's important to allow kids to turn their voices into a creative force, and state of the art technology makes the library cool again for everyone.

"We need to meet them at the technological level in which kids are communicating. And so this seemed like the best way to do it. To make libraries still relevant in their lives, and to offer them all the technology we can," says Hudson.
Amelia and Wiley are just two of the many kids who are looking forward to the wonders of where this media lab could take them in the future.  

"This would be the push for people to actually start making films, and you can just do it now," says Amelia.

"This really should open up just the range of filmmaking in this town... it's gonna be awesome, says Wiley.

A part-time instructor has already been hired to teach the kids, and the library expects to have the room ready by early May.

Workshops will also be offered with guest animators, photographers, film makers and other experts.