AUBURN — One way or another, Zach Hurd’s thoughts would likely come out.

The Edward Little High School junior said he wrote and recorded his first song when he was about 10.

“I go back and now, I’d just like to rip those early songs apart and start all over — do them again,” Hurd said.

He’s gotten better, he said — more confident and more polished.

Some of it is attitude, he said. He’s grown up a lot and what we writes now is more motivational.

But much of it is his tools.


The tools he uses now are much better, thanks to the Auburn Public Library’s Media Lab. His last few songs were mixed on one of the library’s new 27-inch iMac computers.

“Having those tools, I would say, motivates you,” Hurd said. “You are able to get different messages out in a whole new way and perspectives. It feels, sometimes, kind of belittling to see these great artists, and they do these amazing things. They’re able to record things and I think, ‘Why can’t I do that?'”

Now he can, he said.

That’s the goal, according to Media Lab Coordinator Donna Wallace.

“They may have the stuff on their laptops,” Wallace said. “But this center was designed with them in mind, to not only give them the tools but give them the training and some skills.”

The media center opened in November. Anyone with a Lewiston or Auburn library card can come in and use the equipment, which includes iMacs with Adobe audio, video and photo-editing software, microphones, cameras, a synthesizer keyboard, lights and all the other tools necessary to make a song, a video or a photographic masterpiece.


The center even has a green screen studio and software that lets users swap out the background for their videos or photographs.

“Maybe it’s a way for them to pick up a new hobby,” Wallace said. “Maybe it’s to work on a project for school. This gives them a place to put those projects together on a little better equipment, and maybe think about a possible career.”

The library also offered master classes with local photographers and Bates College professors to show them how to use the equipment more effectively.

“Our next goal is to keep doing that, building relationships with the community and small businesses, have people come in to do more workshops,” she said. Ultimately, the goal is “to make a whole Maker Lab, to put the software on the machines to create something and then send it out to have it made.”

The media program came first. The library just wrapped up a summer-long Teen Media Program, designed to introduce Twin Cities teens to the center, get them in and get them using the machines.

The center had its first Digital Media Festival on Aug. 9, showcasing a drawing by Auburn RETC student Nicole Pepin and a short film, “Lost” by EL Freshman Alec Latulippe.


The video for Hurd’s most recent song, “Selling 1996” was shown as well, although it was entered too late to be an official part of the festival. He and friends filmed the video earlier this year in a Twin Cities parking garage with the cameraman in a car circling Hurd.

But the song came from Hurd’s brain, filtered through the library’s equipment.

The song is a call for his generation to not give up, and Hurd said it was written for a friend.

“She asked me to write a song about life and how I saw it,” Hurd said. “I don’t really have a plan about how these things turn out. I just kind of have to stay open and working until I get what I need.”

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