Brush up on tech skills through free appointments and events

Adventures in tech! SOUND+VISION Studio Specialist, Matthew Pelsma, promotes tech help available at Lawrence Public Library (Lawrence, KS).

by Kayla Cook, Media Relations & Communications Specialist, feat. Matthew Pelsma, SOUND+VISION Studio Specialist

Q&A with Matthew Pelsma, SOUND+VISION Studio Specialist

Matt, the library's new SOUND+VISION Studio Specialist, walked us through the library in a virtual invitation to participate in the Summer Reading challenge on socials., opens a new window In this article, he introduces us to library tech gems patrons may not know about. Read this article to meet Matt and learn about how to brush up your tech skills at Lawrence Public Library (LPL).

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions, Matt! You’re relatively new at LPL. What is your favorite tech resource or patron tech success story you’ve witnessed so far?

Thank you so much, and I am so excited to be a part of the Lawrence Public Library. My favorite tech resource is our digitization services, opens a new window. For every session, I get to help patrons bring to life old memories. Playing a small role in archiving a personal and unique past is gratifying and always fun. Each and every story volunteered by a patron is memorable, and facilitating the storage and sharing of these materials is a wonderful service to provide to our community. 

What can folks expect at Computer Basics events? What is the most useful tidbit of information from these events for folks who can’t attend?

These programs are intended for adults who may be intimidated by using Windows computers and the internet. Jim and Andrew of our Public Tech staff put on excellent and informative classes explaining all sorts of things from the difference between right/left clicks to how to use the internet safely and search for trustworthy information.

What can library patrons expect from a One-on-One Tech Help appointment?

Individualized attention! Patrons needing help with a bothersome or frustrating computer or mobile issue can get one-on-one attention. Common issues that take focus and time can be solved within an hour in a private, or semi-private, space. We are available by appointment to provide our community free and personalized tech help.

As the SOUND+VISION Studio Specialist, you’re pretty into music in your personal life, right? Can you share a bit about your music background as well as some Studio Basics info?

I started taking music seriously here in my hometown of Lawrence when I was in high school. I used to play shows with my band in the old library building in '02-03. I completed a Bachelor’s of Music in guitar performance from Wichita State University, opens a new window. From then on I lived all over teaching private lessons, playing in many cover/jazz/indie bands. I lived in Los Angeles and recorded music for film and TV, and back in Lawrence recorded at the SOUND+VISION Studio as a patron for years. During Studio Basics, new users can expect a brief look at signal flow in the studio, preview recording software, microphone choice and how to book a session.

Synth Building Blocks events are for people familiar with studio basics and basic music theory and fundamentals. What's that event like?

Understanding common terms and functions is our main goal. Clarifying what an oscillator does, how envelopes and filters shape sounds through subtractive synthesis, and how to build any sound using additive synthesis can help demystify electronic music. I love using the modular synthesizer and other instruments in the studio as examples on how we shape and build sounds. 

I love using the modular synthesizer and other instruments in the studio as examples on how we shape and build sounds.

What is “AUMI Jam”? It sounds cool! How long has it been happening at the Library, and what is your favorite part about the event?

Adaptive Use Music Instrument is software that tracks gestures using a camera to trigger sounds. Four iPads are placed in a circle and musicians that have unique needs get a chance to improvise with the group. Sometimes we have percussion or a solosist performs in these improvised recordings. The group is most welcoming to all, and they are always coming up with creative angles and new projects. More information can be found here.

How was the event with Elegant Knock, opens a new window? Are any other local recording artists coming to the library soon?

It was truly great to have Sean, a generous artist that I have admired for a long time, come to the studio to demonstrate his technique and answer questions on how he crafts sounds. Some of it was technical, some of it was philosophical. It all made for an invaluable hour of knowledge if you are a music maker. This summer we have Austin Snell attesting to the merits of 16mm film and showing some of his unique horror western They Call Her Death, and Craig Comstock shows you how to build a flute from PVC pipe. That one will be recorded, as we aren’t able to let everyone grind and saw their own mouthpiece!

Do you have to have a library card to book the SOUND+VISION Studio? How old does a patron have to be to book the SOUND+VISION Studio?

Yes, you need a library card to book the studio. It is super easy and available to anyone living in the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS) area which includes 14 counties. The age requirement is 18, and whoever booked the session needs to be in attendance.

Anything you can spill about the new Memory Lab coming soon?

I’m super excited to be expanding into the Local History Room which will provide more space for patrons and turnkey accessibility. One station will be for digitizing video with more format options than currently offered, and the other will be for digitizing still film with an automatic slide scanner and more. Extra space has been graciously granted by Melissa, our Info Services Supervisor, and Brad, our Director, and we are excited as to what this brings our patrons towards the end of this year.

One last question, Matt–What are you listening to, and what are you reading?

Three things currently–3 Shades of Blue by James Kaplan on eBook, There’s Always This Year by Hanif Abdurraqib on audiobook, and The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo in bound-book. I found a playlist of recommended listening for 3 Shades of Blue, so I am getting a reeducation on the most influential jazz musicians from the bebop era. Also, I can’t stop with the new Billie Eilish.

Collection Connection: More of Matt's Music and Tech Staff Picks:

About Lawrence Public Library
Lawrence Public Library (LPL for short) is a community hub that believes in the power of connecting with each other through shared knowledge and resources. Located in the heart of Downtown Lawrence, Kansas, we are committed to providing a space where our community can learn, connect, create, and grow through access to our vast collections, resources, services, programs, and knowledgeable staff. The library is supported by tax dollars, record-breaking book sales and philanthropic efforts by the LPL Friends & Foundation, and the dedicated efforts of more than 300 volunteers. All are welcome.



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