Residents of Mesa in need of access to get their fledgling businesses growing have a new resource with several tools at the Red Mountain Library.
Called THINKspot, the new workspace inside the library is loaded with tools for people looking to take the first steps toward developing a business. Items at the library include a green screen, digital camera, 3D printer, a holographic computer, iMac computers with editing capabilities, a SMART Board touch-screen monitor and tables that connect computers to a large screen for collaborative projects.
The library also provides free workshops during the week to teach the public how to use the equipment properly, like the 3D Thursdays that provide overviews on the 3D printer.
“Our idea is for the community to come and find out what this can do and try something new without putting money into it,” said librarian Sarah Prosory.
Mayor Scott Smith called THINKspot an important tool to help promote businesses innovation in Mesa and a step in a long-term goal to build the city’s business base. While Smith said the city will continue to woo businesses from other states to move to the area, he said that model is unsustainable in the long run.
A place like THINKspot, however, gives Mesa a leg up in its attempts to aid and hopefully retain homegrown businesses while creating “a culture of innovation” in the city, he said.
“It’s sort of like a candy shop for creative people,” he said.
Although the main focus is aspiring businesses, Prosory said THINKspot also works for student projects as well. Students, for example, could use the holographic computer to simulate a dissection project without sacrificing a frog or cow’s eye to do it.
Having the student involvement also ties in to the origins of the meeting space, which began through the iMesa program — a collaboration between the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Mesa Public Schools and the Mesa Public Library. Prosory said the THINKspot idea was shifted through the iMesa process and originated from discussions between the city government, the library system and public schools.
One of the reasons the Red Mountain Library was selected to host THINKspot was the inherent nature of libraries, which she said are “a little less intimidating” than incubators or accelerators meant for businesses that have taken the next step in their evolution.
Evolution of services also ties in to another reason the library is hosting THINKspot, as Prosory said THINKspot fits right in with libraries’ purpose of keeping up with technological innovations. Libraries, she said, have historically been on the cutting edge — it wasn’t that long ago that books were considered a new innovation — and the goal is to continue to expand alongside new technology.
“We don’t just want it to be limited to what we have,” she said.
THINKspot is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Red Mountain Library, located at 635 N. Power Road. Visit MesaTHINKspot.org for more information.
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