This is the second in a series of posts focusing on the value of our Texas public libraries. The first post highlighted story time for the youngest of students and their families and shared information about the Houston and Fort Worth libraries. This post is about maker spaces in our libraries.
Guided by the Visioning Document, we realize that the potential of learning anywhere, including in the community, must be embraced. Though this premise specifically refers to the digital learning environment, we also acknowledge the opportunities our public libraries provide to students and families when school libraries are not available, specifically on weekends and during the summer months. This blog series will include highlights of various public libraries across the state in connection to various themes.
A maker space is place designated for people to come together to work on projects using shared materials, equipment, and/or technology. There are no age limits for use of maker spaces, though the materials available in the space typically drive the appropriate use.
North Richland Hills Library
The maker space in the North Richland Hills Library, referred to as the the maker spot, is on the second floor of the library and spans 4,500 square feet. Open 5 days per week (closed on Fridays and Sundays), the maker spot boasts a 3D printing area, a soft crafts area, and miscellaneous equipment. The space was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in 2015.
The use of the maker spot at the North Richland Hills Library is free, though there may be a cost for the use of certain consumable materials. Training classes for all of the equipment are made available through the events calendar on the library website.
El Paso Library
The maker space at the El Paso Public Library is located in the main library downtown. Programs are generally geared toward teens and pre-teens, though younger kids are welcome as well. Adults may come and use the maker space, too. The space includes access to robots, 3D printers, sewing machines, a sound booth, and computers with video and photo editing software.
The maker space at the El Paso Public Library is open to the public every Saturday afternoon.
Maker spaces, equipped with consumable materials, technology, and tools inspire library patrons to use creativity to create. The opportunity to explore passions, learn new skills, and collaborate with others to solve problems are a few of the benefits available to the community in maker spaces in some of our Texas Public Libraries.
I encourage you to explore your own library and investigate the possibility of maker spaces inside!