New manager and other additions in store for Lawrence Public Library’s popular recording studio
The new year will bring a new manager and some other additions to the Lawrence Public Library’s recording studio.
Ed Rose, who has been the studio’s manager for the last two years, recently left his position, and the library is in the process of hiring a replacement. The new manager will be brought on along with other additions to the studio, which is free and open to the public and located in the basement of the library, 707 Vermont St.
Rose had made a name for himself in Lawrence as a recording engineer prior to joining the library staff, first on a one-year contract and then as a full-time staff member. Although library leaders said they are sad to see Rose go, they said his expertise has helped with the success of the studio.
“He really allowed us to move the studio toward realizing what we wanted it to be,” said library director Brad Allen.
About a year ago, Rose helped the library to design and rebuild its live audio recording room — taking advantage of final change orders from the library’s recent renovation and a former storage area — to provide better acoustics and soundproofing, Allen said. In addition to improving recording quality, the change expanded the studio’s potential total area.
Allen said they soon hope to repurpose the vacated studio as a place for basic video recording. The library’s studio area already has rooms and software for video editing but no place to shoot footage.
“We have this room that’s not being used right now that we are trying to put a green screen and basic lighting systems,” Allen said.
Allen said another effort in the works is to make the studio more programmatic. Essentially, that would mean incorporating the studio into digital humanities projects, such as recording oral histories or other narratives. The studio includes a control room that looks onto the audio recording studio, which Allen said at this time is mainly used for music and podcast recording, but also some interviews.
Equipment in the studio includes a drum set, digital grand piano, modular synthesizer, electric and acoustic guitars, as well as an Apple iMac computer and applicable studio software. The studio opened three years ago, a product of the library’s $18 million renovation and expansion. Allen said the studio has proven consistently popular, with 75-80 sessions booked per month.
“It is incredibly rare that there is an open space that goes unused,” Allen said.
City Manager Tom Markus has brought up the idea of establishing fees for certain city services, the studio among them. Allen said he was open to those discussions, but for the time being the studio will continue to be free.
“We think this is an important service and we believe the best mechanism is for it to continue to be free,” Allen said.
The library received about 40 applications for the studio manager position, and Allen said they are getting ready to start doing interviews. He said the goal is to have the position filled within a month and to continue to support the studio and its users.
“We have so many creative people here, and music is important to this town, and storytelling is important to this town, so it’s just been really fabulous to see it thrive,” Allen said.