IDEA Center

IDEA Center @ Ames Public Library

Inspire, Design, Explore, Archive 

Ames Public Library’s IDEA Center connects library users to technology to digitize personal photos, slides, videos and sound recordings. Adobe Creative Cloud and Final Cut Pro are available on all stations for editing and creative projects.

The IDEA Center is free to use with your library card. You will also need to complete a brief online orientation prior to using the space.

The IDEA Center is supported by generous donations to the Ames Public Library Friends Foundation.

Digitization Stations

Digitize analog media to share, and edit your content using our workstations for image, audio, and video conversion.

Image & Slide Conversion Station: 

Use this station to scan and edit photos, negatives, and slides 

  • Hardware: Mac Studio M1, 27" Studio Display, Epson Expression 12000XL-PH flatbed scanner, slide and negative trays 
  • Software: SilverFast 9, Epson Scan 2, Preview, Adobe Creative Cloud, Final Cut Pro


Audio & Video Conversion Station: 

Use this station to convert VHS*, audio cassette and microcassette to digital 

*Only North American “NTSC” format tapes are supported 

  • Hardware: Mac Studio M1, 27" Studio Display, multimedia conversion tower, 1:5 CD/DVD duplicator
  • Software: Blackmagic Media Express, Adobe Premiere Pro, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, HandBrake, Audacity, GarageBand, Adobe Creative Cloud

Editing Station: 

Use this station to edit photos, videos, or do creative work 

  • Hardware: Mac Studio M1, 27" Studio Display, One by Wacom Graphics Drawing Tablet 8.3" x 5.7" with Pressure Sensitive Pen
  • Software: Adobe Creative Cloud (including Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Illustrator), Final Cut Pro, Audacity, HandBrake 
Photo of a scanner, old camera, slides, and film

Formats that can be converted into digital files:

  • Video:
  • Sound:
    Cassette Tapes,  Microcassette Tapes
  • Images:
    Documents and photographs, Slides, Photo negatives

IDEA Center Hours

The IDEA Center is staffed:

  • Mondays: 12-4pm
  • Tuesdays: 12-4pm
  • Wednesdays: 12-8pm
  • Thursdays: 12-4pm
  • Fridays: 12-4pm

During these times, a library staff member will be available for assistance. 

The IDEA Center is also open for reservations by those who can use it independently during all Library hours.

Whether you plan to use the IDEA Center during staffed or unstaffed times, please reserve a time slot here.

Using the IDEA Center

  • Each station may be reserved through the library’s online reservation system at least 24 hours in advance. Reservations are not required, but making a reservation guarantees the space will be available for you.

  • Users are required to complete a brief online orientation before using the IDEA Center.

  • Drop-in use is welcome when stations are not reserved.

  • Stations may used in 2-hour time blocks. Please speak to staff if you anticipate needing more time for your project.

  • Please bring an external storage device to save your work. Work may only be saved on IDEA Center computers temporarily.

  • Printing is not available from IDEA Center computers. Files may be saved and printed from a public computer.

  • Be sure to allow time at the end of your session for large file transfers to your storage device or online storage. Transfers may take up to 30 minutes or more.

  • If you are not familiar with the software you are planning to use, familiarize yourself with it before your session. Library staff may not be able to tutor you at the time of your session.

  • The library has some basic tutorials available here:

  • There are also many software tutorials available online. You can ask library staff to help you locate one about what you want to do in the IDEA Center.

Reserve a Station

Have questions? 

Stop by the Library’s adult services desk, call us at (515) 239-5646 ext. 4, or schedule a 1-on-1 help session.