Because I Say So

{May 24, 2015}   Thing 23 – Makerspaces

A Makerspace is a space that provides tools, collaboration, networking, training and support for people to turn their ideas into physical things. The public library for which I serve as a trustee is in the process of adding a Makerspace. We have found that in our area there is typically a membership fee to belong. The City of Rochester has a Makerspace with a monthly fee of $40. It is also not unusual for libraries to charge a materials fee. Makerspaces offer a wide range of tools and equipment. A typical makerspace has high end power tools, supplies for working with electronics, hardware and software to support, sewing machines, and graphic design centers. Training is provided before people can use the machinery. Supervision is also in place when people use the machinery. Some additional insurance may be required, depending upon the machinery in use. Two public libraries within about an hour of us have makerspaces with both “clean” technology (computers, printers, software) and “dirty” technology (high end power machinery). We have been researching and looking at spaces that would fit into our library mission, and allow us to sustain the space without additional staffing or funding. We are considering three different themes to start with, and hope to expand to other areas once the initial space is complete:

  • Photo/Video editing – The emphasis would be on high resolution scanners for old photos and videos, software/hardware to support, video editing equipment, and perhaps cameras, iPods or iPads to primarily use in new photo/video drafting.
  • Crafting – The emphasis would be high end power tools. We could add a sewing machine, quilting machine, pottery wheel, and soldering stations. This would emphasize “dirty technology” and would require a dedicated space for this lab.
  • Graphic Design The emphasis for this space would be on design. We could have a 3-d printer, software to support, AUTO CAD programs, laptops, and large printers.

My choice would be to combine the graphic design makerspace with the photo/video editing.  I believe this would best meet the needs of our clients right now.  Hopefully things will go well and we can add a crafting makerspace fairly soon. All three proposals are very exciting!


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