When Adults are the Students

Libraries aren’t just for reading books anymore. Today, they offer almost everything a person could need, be it resources for job hunting, fun events for the family or group classes to pick up new skills. The NHC Public Library, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, shows off its appreciation for technology in a number of workshops, one being an iStopMotion animation class for adults.

The NHC Library first introduced iStopMotion as a children’s workshop two years ago, where it was an instant hit. Since then, the workshops usually fill up a month in advance, and library director Harry Tuchmeyer has purchased equipment for each one of the library’s branches. Library staff works with one or two children between the ages of eight and eighteen at a time for a one-hour session to teach them the basics using iStopMotion, iMovie and YouTube. Once the basic one-on-one session is completed, students are invited to come to the library’s Stop Animation Lab, offered twice a month on Fridays. There, they have two hours to complete their work and have a chance to work with up to five other students to compare techniques.

Last summer, the NHC Library did six separate weeks of Stop Animation Camp, meeting for an hour a day for four days a week with the same group of students to make a longer stop motion animation. Day one was for set design, day two was for shooting and editing, day three was for finishing up editing and day four was for uploading. A member of the children’s staff, Jamie Schrum, noticed how interested parents were in the students’ work, and the Stop Animation Course for adults was born.

Three adults attended the first course. Jamie demonstrated how to use iStopMotion by making a quick film, and then the participants went to work, creating their own backgrounds and taking pictures. Jamie assisted with the technology, answered questions and offered limited creative suggestions, but the adults took to it well.

“It was a smooth process,” Jamie says. “One of the participants came up with an idea of what she wanted to create, and as we brainstormed, the other two got ideas for their films. Even though three separate films were made, it was a collaborative effort.”

Because iStopMotion was so easy to learn and the layout so intuitive, the adults loved using it. The onion skinning feature was a big plus, and the ability to duplicate frames, focus shift and add grid lines made the education part quick and the creative part fun.

"In the age we live in, computer literacy is very important for almost anyone searching for work," says Max Nunez, library associate at NHC. "A very high percentage of jobs require applicants to apply for the job online, even if the person will never work with a computer on the job itself. Learning other technology applications and skills helps to make patrons more marketable in their job hunt as well."

Currently, the NHC Library has over 290 videos on its YouTube channel, most of them iStopMotion animations. The staff plans on continuing to offer workshops for both children and adults among other activities, such as their annual film club where they screen their best iStopMotion movies at a local film house. They even have trophies for the best actor, actress and animator. It just goes to show that anyone can be an animator with a little bit of practice!

Visit the NHC Public Library online here to learn about workshops, books and more!