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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Dubois

Ready, Set, Make! Library Makerspace On the Way

Funding Needed for Exciting New Project

Imagine a place in the library where everybody can create, design, tinker, build, and prototype. RCLF’s next project will allow you to do just that! We are raising funds to create a makerspace lab in the Downtown Library. The goal of a makerspace is to allow users to learn through direct experimentation and group thinking. Maker-spaces can include technology such as lasers, 3D printers, sewing machines, soldering irons, coding, robotics, and woodcarving machines, and users are allowed to experiment freely. Items created in makerspaces are typically handmade artistic and artisan pieces for sale or gifts, but large companies such as General Motors and Microsoft also use makerspaces to produce specialized parts, in quantities not practical to produce on an assembly line. 

Makerspace fairs are now held all over the world. Beginning around 2006, the “maker movement” grew out of the do-it-yourself culture. Libraries and schools began offering programs and redesigning spaces to address related interests within their communities. In California, 20 community colleges each received a quarter-million dollars from the state to support makerspaces. The first public library with a makerspace was in Fayetteville, New York.

In a library makerspace, patrons of varying ages can work together, alone, or with library staff on creative projects. These makerspaces give community members access to tools, technology, training, resources, advice, and social connections that might not be accessible otherwise. Public makerspaces are also intended to allow minorities or underrepresented populations, like home-schooled students or people with disabilities, the chance to become involved with technology and fields they may not have previously considered.

The Downtown Library makerspace is in the planning stage now with expected completion by the end of 2019. Planning is under the guidance of Library Director Derek Wolfgram, Library Foundation Executive Director Rouslana Yaroslavsky, Library Division Manager Sarah La Torra, and Library Foundation board member Keith Blackey, who has experience with TechShop, a chain of membership-based makerspace workshops and fabrication studios.

The goal of the project is to include 3D printers, at least one laser cutter and hand tools, plus computers with applications required to drive the tools. The makerspace lab will be open to all seven days a week, and the plan is to implement an online scheduling system. The City of Redwood City has approved $150,000 to remodel library space and create the makerspace lab, but additional funds will be needed for the purchase and servicing of equipment, personnel training, and other expenses. Donate today and help us bring life to a future makerspace that is open to all! 

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