Rolling DIY – Makerspace

By Daniel Bullock, Makerspace Specialist

The Mammen Family Public Library is pleased to offer a makerspace with tools available as part of our Rolling DIY grant. Do you need more information? You’re in the right place. Do these terms confuse you? You’re still in the right place!


What is “makerspace”?

Our makerspace program is a place where we can offer patrons the use of equipment and software to design and create items for personal use. Do you want to make your own stickers? Do you want to etch a design into your favorite coffee mug? Do you just want to learn how to use a quadcopter drone before you decide what to buy? You have a chance to do these things and much more at our makerspace.

For many people in our area, the equipment or software can be:

  • prohibitively expensive
  • challenging to learn
  • frustrating to get started on your own
  • impractical to own
  • unavailable for rent or trial

The goal of our makerspace is to offer community members access to equipment and software that encourages creativity, problem solving, and collaboration. We want participants to learn that:

IMG_4551

Library Member Created Designs – 3D Printer

  • “Success” can be any number of “right” answers.
  • Mistakes can teach you how to do better.
  • Ignorance is the place where we all start.
  • Failure is nothing to fear as long as you understand it.
  • Working with others can teach you the skills of “how” to learn.
  • Playing and tinkering is actually a disguise for learning.

If you have encountered any of the obstacles mentioned here, then drop by our makerspace to see what we have available and learn from people that have experience — and others that don’t.

Warning: Creating is an addictive activity.


What is “Rolling DIY”?

The equipment and software that we have purchased is funded by a generous grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Libraries Commission and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Our goal is to provide for makerspace activities at six libraries in the region:

Purchases under this grant are divided into subject “laboratories”. The list will be growing soon, but so far we have:

IMG_2786

Basic Sewing Class – Sewing & Textiles Lab

  • Digital Audio Visual Lab
  • 3D Printing Lab
  • Sewing and Textiles Lab
  • Life Skills/Crafting Lab
  • Graphic Design Lab
  • Coding and Electronics Lab

The laboratories are each on a rotating (or “rolling”) schedule about once per quarter.

The equipment and software is available for activities during a quarter when the library has requested it.


What “laboratory” is currently available?

Some of the equipment and software is here at Mammen Family Public Library

IMG_4549

Large Printer/Cutter – Permanently Located at MFPL

permanently while some of it is only available when it’s our turn in the Rolling DIY schedule. The large printer/cutter will always be at MFPL simply because it is much too

large to move around. You can find the schedule for the other items by following this link (our library my still be listed as BSBL).

However, as the recipient of the grant, MFPL is the primary manager of equipment and software. You will notice that we have more laboratories than libraries in the program.

Whenever a laboratory has not been requested by a library during the quarter, it will reside at MFPL.


What equipment and software do you have?

Stay tuned to this blog. When circumstances permit, this blog will be updated to feature individual projects or activities. As an employee of Mammen Family Public Library, they will probably be tackled chronologically as they pass my desk. Otherwise, you can find the inventory list and general guide that we share amongst the libraries at these individual links:


How can I get involved?

Each library manages its own laboratory during its rotation in the Rolling DIY program. Each library may have its own policies about registering for classes or walking in during open times. At Mammen Family Public Library, for example, we recommend two tiers: learn the basics in an introductory class, and then practice under nominal supervision during our “open makerspace” hours. You can find these times on our library calendar and you can click a makerspace class to register.

Some training material and suggestions are sent out with each laboratory to minimally help staff members learn how to use the equipment and software. However, each library would love to have volunteers (or training) if you find that your library is hosting something that appeals to your knowledge and experience.


Daniel is the Makerspace Specialist and can most often be found in the Makerspace area at the Annex. Daniel’s favorite author is Lisa Randall. When he’s not working he enjoys electronics and computer programming. He is also a Physics professor.

 

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