February 14, 2018

Charles County Public Library wants to see their community soar in their small business ventures.

A new space opened at the Waldorf West branch last week in an effort to expand the library’s list of offerings to encourage residents to grow their career or personal interests.

“This is something we’ve talked about since [Waldorf West library] opened, some type of business space or small business space,” Janet Salazar, executive director of Charles County Public Library said at a launch event Monday at the Waldorf West branch. “I am extremely pleased that we finally have the space opened and that we have stuff in it like we always thought we would.”

The SOAR (Securing Opportunities and Aspirations Realized) Innovation Space opened last Monday at the Waldorf branch and includes a multitude of multimedia programs, software and equipment.

The space, a room on the left side of the library’s second floor, features a Dell and Apple computer, equipped with a plethora of programs, including software for animation, graphic design, web design, photo editing, video editing, sound editing and more for people to work on personal and professional projects.

The room also includes a large scale digital printer, a DSLR camera that shoots photos and video, a sound mixer with two microphones, and business reference databases.

The room is equipped to be used for video conferencing, video interviewing, recording a podcast, creating brochures and flyers, designing websites, meetings and more.

“My vision was to provide the community with a place where people could collaborate and create together and really provide a place where people who may have the skills or maybe want to learn new skills but may not necessarily have the resources or the money for the access, provide a place where people can access resources, build their technology skills, their job skills, work for a nonprofit or small business and help them create their own personal visions and their own goals,” Shannon Bland, funding information network supervisor for Charles County Public Library, said at the opening. Bland worked on obtaining the grant that secured the funding for the space.

After touring the space, Arlene Patterson of Waldorf said she was excited to use the space in the future to work on hobbies and her own business.

“This [space] came out of the desires of the people so I think it’s wonderful,” Patterson said. “[The library] is always my first stop for reference and I’m always excited to see new things at the library. It’s nice to see them add something that will advance the library so it doesn’t become extinct. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone to come for free and learn.”