The Mercury Community Media Lab is up and running and open for business, with regular hours four days a week and an open invitation to reserve it for community events.
Diane Hoffman, community engagement editor, has been assisting residents in using the computers for job searches, and some folks have stopped by to say hi and check out the newly remodeled space at 24 N. Hanover St.
But that's just the beginning.
Our current hours, 11 to 2, Monday through Thursday, are "summer hours," recognizing there is not as much demand for a cup of coffee and a lesson in blogging during a heat wave. We'll be expanding and offering more open hours going forward.
Next Tuesday evening, Aug. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., we will be hosting a meeting of our Town Square bloggers' network to introduce them to the potential uses of our Media Lab, and the public is invited.
Anyone with an interest in blogging or in learning what our Community Media Lab offers is welcome.
And since Tuesday happens to be the observance of National Night Out, we're also partnering with two of our Hanover Street neighbors to offer food, music, and exercise.
We will be grilling in the drive-through area of The Mercury with free hot dogs for anyone who visits, as long as supplies last.
Manning the grill will be Mercury staffer and Town Square blogger Evan Brandt, @PottstownNews.
Across the street, CrossFit Pottstown and owner Rob Matthews will offer free CrossFit classes during the hours of 6 to 8 p.m.
A DJ will be playing music on the sidewalk in front of the Community Media Lab, courtesy of Matthews and CrossFit Pottstown.
Also across the street, the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority will have the Visitor's Center open with information about their new website, "Proudly Pottstown," and a display of old Pottstown photos.
In the Media Lab, bloggers will be sharing ideas on how to use the features of the lab for community outreach. Anyone who visits will be able to learn about the lab and about Town Square and how to start or network a blog.
Among the uses of the Media Lab are:
--readily available information about Pottstown, including maps of recreation areas and historic places to visit in the region,
--a Community Share bulletin board to post events, jobs, items for sale,
--gallery display of newspaper photos and front pages showcasing historic moments in Pottstown,
--lending library of books (we have some great summer reads!) with Mercury staff "picks",
--microfilm to research 85 years of issues of The Mercury,
--free Wi-Fi for your laptops or the use of three computers,
--Internet TV for small-group training purposes,
--coffee bar, and
--access to Mercury staff for assistance with computer searches.
The lab is available for use by community groups for forums or small meetings. We hope to see groups like SCORE use the space for a small-business workshop on social media, for example, or a neighborhood group invite school board candidates in for a Q&A.
We would like to see students from the Gallery on High or the Pottstown School District use our computers -- and start blogs to share with the community.
We're open for business and we want to show off what we have to offer.
Come by and visit: Tuesday night, Aug. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., 24 N. Hanover St., Pottstown.