The idea for unBound grew out of makerspace activities and community feedback. In 2012, the Meridian Library secured a grant to purchase its very first 3D printer, primarily for use in teen programs. As our staff streamlined the use of 3D printing in the library and began offering new technology classes and events, it quickly became apparent that our community's need extended beyond those services and programs. Meridian needed spaces and support for entrepreneurs, and the library was uniquely positioned to fill that role. That led to the idea for unBound, a location that would offer access to technology for the purpose of supporting businesses.
In October 2015, unBound opened in its original downtown Meridian location, the old Farmers and Merchants Bank building at 713 N Main Street. The Meridian Development Corp leased that space to the library for just $1, and we were able to pilot our vision for unBound and continue learning from our community. This innovative technology and business focused branch went from proposal to operation in only 6 months, a great example of the library’s “lighter quicker cheaper” philosophy. For the three years the original building was open, we were a part of people’s projects, lives, and side hustles. We witnessed podcasts organizing community events, introduced people to virtual worlds, and watched ideas become reality.
We've seen over 35,000 people walk through our doors. Our 3D printers have spent over 20,000 hours in production. We’ve printed everything from prototypes to cosplay, hosted monthly 3D design classes and small business workshops, built life-sized video games, and been home to several podcasts and start ups. We participated in the American Library Association’s Ready to Code grant project, developing a framework for other libraries to teach code and computational thinking to youth.
We closed the original unBound space in February 2019 to make way for the Old Town Lofts development at the location – a mix of apartments, restaurants, shops and office space. This was not a surprise. We always intended to be in the space for just 3-5 years. One of our goals was to help revitalize downtown Meridian, so moving out after just 3 years meant we did our job! We moved back into the Cherry Lane location to set up a temporary “unBound Lite” as we planned for the future of this unique library.