A new installment in our video series on the Library as Incubator Project YouTube Channel in partnership with The Bubbler at Madison Public Library.  Today, an interview with Rob Dz, who found the resources to record his first full length album at the library’s Media Lab. Enjoy! ~Erinn

Rob Dz Promo

by Sean Ottosen and Lucas Schneider

In previous posts, we’ve shown how local artists and the Madison community have utilized the Bubbler’s physical art space to create and grow together. This month we’re highlighting the work of Madison hip hop and spoken word artist Rob Dz. Rob got his start into music growing up in Beloit, Wisconsin, and has developed an award-winning fusion of jazz, R&B, funk and gospel that has graced regional venues with a unique style of sincerity and integrity.

Rob was first introduced to the Media Lab by former Artist-in-Residence Victor Castro, who knew Rob as an area performer. Rob had been fulfilling his passion for music on the side while working, but when Victor brought him to the Media Lab he had just left his job. The timing couldn’t have been better.

Pretty much everything the media lab offered were the things I didn’t have as a musician. […] I didn’t have the smaller things that really made the package, as far as photo work, design work, and video work. ~Rob Dz

Rob is a long-time patron of the Central Library, but didn’t realize that with the new renovations of the library came a move from the traditional (and stereotypical) library setting of print media and quiet space. The musician quickly took advantage of the large array of free technology classes offered by the Lab—everything from Adobe Photoshop to video production to audio engineering.

As soon as I saw the media lab, I knew this was the place I needed to be.

For 3-6 months, Rob spent time training one-on-one with the Media Lab volunteers, soaking up as much information as he could at his own pace. Soon he applied his skills to his new album, “The Good Guy Memoirs.”

Through the Media Lab I have been able to design my entire album cover as well as all of my promotional materials, I shot a video for the project and am about to start working on the second video, and I’ve recorded 80% of the album in this Media Lab.

To give back to all of his supporters in the library and the greater Madison community, and in preparation for his upcoming Kickstarter campaign, Rob hosted a sneak-peak listening party for “The Good Guy Memoirs” during the Bubbler’s December Night Light event. During our interview, Rob also wanted  to extend a special thanks to Bubbler Program Coordinator Trent Miller and Media Lab Coordinator Nate Clark for all of their expertise and understanding that supports “the need for people to go free and do what they do.”

Libraries serve to make various media—whether physical, print, or digital—more accessible to their communities. The Central Library’s Media Lab is just one of many ways libraries make otherwise difficult to access materials accessible to the general public, and shows that libraries clearly have a place in our ever-digitizing world.


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Promotional images courtesy of KBD Multimedia Group.


Ottosen_Sean_picSean Ottosen earned his master’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies and is currently an employee of the Madison Public Library (Central) in both Reference & User Services and Digital/Web Services. His volunteer work with downtown Madison music festivals has led to a seat on the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center’s board of directors. Sean is a cinephile, a frequent concert-goer, and an enthusiastic reader.



lucas-schneider_scaled-150wLucas Schneider is studying Japanese and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been working in libraries for over five years and is currently a desk page at Madison Public Library. Lucas is fascinated by computer networking and security and would love to have a career bridging the gap between libraries and electronic resources.

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