ASMR at the Library
Have you ever felt tingles in your head or down your spine when someone whispers in your ear or when you get a haircut? Do you start to feel pleasantly sleepy when you hear typing or fingernails tapping on a table? If so, you might be experiencing ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
Many people who experience ASMR find it to be very relaxing and pleasurable, so much so that "ASMR" is the second most popular search term on YouTube. There are very popular "ASMRtists" with millions of subscribers who use their videos to relax, fall asleep or just feel tingly!
So what actually is ASMR? According to Health.com, we don't really know yet. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "a pleasant tingling sensation that originates on the back of the scalp and often spreads to the neck and upper spine, that occurs in some people in response to a stimulus (such as a particular kind of sound or movement), and that tends to have a calming effect." Unfortunately, there haven't been enough studies to figure out how it actually works. What seems to be true though, is that people who say they experience ASMR do feel calmer and more relaxed when watching ASMR videos. That's good enough for the millions of people watching videos on YouTube every day!
At our Digital Innovation Hub at North York Central Library, we decided to try making our own ASMR videos. The equipment we used is available to you, too, at any branch with a Digital Innovation Hub. All you need to do is book a recording studio with your library card, and you can use our microphones, cameras and video and audio editing software for free! We have a Canon video camera, Nikon still camera and Shure dynamic microphones. The video recording studio also has greenscreen walls so you can edit your background easily. Always in the room are adjustable lights, a table and chairs, and a Mac computer. If you want to make some original music for your video, you can also use our keyboard when you book the audio recording studio. Lastly, we've also got you covered for the magic of post-production! Our computers have audio editing software like Adobe Audition, GarageBand, Audacity, Logic Pro X and Ableton Live so you can make your audio tracks sound perfect. We also have video editing software like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, and iMovie to put it all together.
Me (Kate) and Carlo setting up for an ASMR video! Photo property of the author.
We searched the Digital Innovation Hub and the Fabrication Studio to find some stuff we could use to make really nice ASMR sounds. The Fab Studio was full of interesting sounds! We used our sewing machines, fabric, dress form, and vinyl. You can experience these sounds yourself at the North York Central Library. We have sewing machines available to book for free when you bring your own fabric and thread. You can also make your own vinyl stickers or iron-on images for only the cost of the vinyl that you use.
Check out a couple of the videos we created:
If you're interested in learning more about ASMR, here are a few resources you can access for free with your library card:
Idiot’s Guides: ASMR by Julie Young
Unwind Your Mind: The life-changing power of ASMR by Emma WhispersRed
Brain Tingles: The secret to triggering Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response for improved sleep, stress relief, and head-to-toe euphoria by Richard Craig
We also have some ASMR audio so you can check it out for yourself:
ASMR for your commute: Quiet your mind in a busy world by Emma WhisperRed
ASMR for your bedtime: Quiet your mind in a busy world by Emma WhisperRed