The Cincinnati Public Library Lets You Use DSLRs and Studio Equipment for Free


As books are easier to buy and borrow in digital forms, public libraries are evolving and experimenting with new ways to stay relevant. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has one awesome idea for how to do so: the main branch of the library in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, features a makerspace that provides free access to tools for creative people — equipment that includes DSLRs and photo studio gear.


It’s a space “where creative people can gather, create, invent, and learn,” the library writes on its webpage. Members can browse for available equipment online, reserve what they need for an hour at a time, and then go into the library to use the gear.

The “digital audio, video, and photography” section of the makerspace offers 18MP Canon DSLR cameras, “studio in a box” packages for tabletop product photos, multiple lights, softboxes, backdrops, and a green screen.


If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at some studio photography with different light setups — and you live in the Cincinnati area — this could be a great way to do so without having to drop some dough on your own gear.


To take your resulting photos home, simply bring a storage device to the library or upload your files to the Web to download later. The makerspace also sells photographic prints for 25 cents each and 2GB flash drives for $5 each.

Hopefully this is an idea that catches on among public libraries around the country (and the world).

Image credits: Header photograph by Erica Cherup, and all other photographs by 5chw4r7z