3D printing and media tools: reviews on MakerSpaces around the world
ITLAb in Municipal Public Library of Piekary Śląskie, Poland
The Municipal Public Library in Piekary Śląskie, Poland, is a place open for everyone, who feels the need for personal development, sharing knowledge and taking part in innovative actions. The idea of creating an ITLab was born from analysing a poll concerning the youth from our city. Their responses clearly indicated that young people are very interested in new technologies, but their knowledge is very basic, and there are many technological novelties they know nothing about. They like to know more, but they didn't want to learn in the boring, ”school-like” way.
Therefore, we developed an innovative project called ”The Programming of Curiosity”, which has won the ”Innovative libraries preparing children and youth for the future” EIFL-PLIP competition in 2014, with a grant of $20,000.
Our primary goal was is to spark youth's interest in IT and to develop their creativity and imagination. Through 10 online applications we offer them basic information on computer game mechanics, and in order to increase the appeal, all the information is gamified. In June 2015, guided by professional game developers, five best learners will create their own game using newly acquired skills. Also, by mixing programming and minicomputers, we give an opportunity to learn rare and sought after skills in robotics, during regularly held workshops.
Another popular feature of the ITLab is the 3D modeling workshops in Blender, accompanied by 3D printing workshops. Our librarians hold programing lessons in the Scratch program, in the framework of the educational program "Masters of Coding" by Samsung Electronics Poland. We encourage creative use of modern technology by teaching the youngest the usage of various iOS and Android applications. In cooperation with university science groups we organize robot shows.
Our ITLab gathers people, who have remade the technological barrier into a newfound passion. The actions carried out by the Lab encourage intellectual and creative development in children and youth, and can improve their chances of finding employment later on. This increases the library's attractivity and presents it as an innovative space that's that is open to society's needs. The ITLab has been supported by The Information Society Development Foundation as an Innovation Zone.
Darren Hoerner from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visited Library’s ITLab in February this year; here is his testimonial: "I was impressed during my visit to the library by the great diversity of services dedicated to the innovative use of Information Technology. In a community with a long history of mining and engineering, it’s great to see the library growing the technical skills of the community and helping them to move forward into the future. Through robotics and 3D modeling, just two examples, the library is giving the next generation an opportunity to gain exposure to the tools needed to prepare them for the future."
director of Municipal Public Library in Piekary Śląskie, Poland
Skaparbibblan at the library of Vaggeryd, Sweden
In the little town of Vaggeryd, there is a library, a combined school – and public library. Last spring we started a makerspace here, called “Skaparbibblan”. It is an open space for everyone, used by adults, students, and children from the nearby kindergarten and school come to use the makerspace. This spring we also got ourselves a little mobile makerspace, and with this we are now spreading the idea of makerspaces in libraries across our county.
Why at a library?
Libraries have been always facilitators of information and knowledge, mostly through books. Libraries are also the perfect meeting point in societies, open to everybody, where you can meet others and share knowledge without being graded. We believe that libraries now can turn fears of loosing their role in communities because of new technology into something positive and use new technology as a means for learning and literacy. Through new technology, people can learn in a multimodal way, including tactile and kinesthetic learning, something which many can benefit from.
What kind of facilities?
Other than 3D printers, we have sewing machines, maker boxes with stimulating pedagogical material such as for experiments with solar cells, 3Doodler, Littlebits, 4Dframe, electronic sewing, robots, Ipads with many apps both for technology and for story creation such as IMotion and IMovie. We also have Ollies (controlled by Ipads), screens for showing instruction movies, a Strawbees machine, CleverTouch, Epson BT 200 virtual reality glasses and more. To enable the trainers in other libraries to use the material in their turn, we hand out a paper edition on the workshops and also QR-codes connected to the instruction movies (also available on Youtube).
To foster the interest for creating and technology, we think it is best to start with children! They have an open mind and adapt knowledge easily. They an become future technology students and workers.
How do we do it?
At the library in Vaggeryd, we now organise Geek Girls, programming for children with Kodu and 3D cafés. The children participate in cafés and Geek Girls in their spare time, and the programming during school time.
The mobile Makerspace called Skaparbibblan
Starting this spring, we are going on a tour to libraries in the county of Jönköping, to show new technology including our maker boxes. It is a “train the trainer concept”, where we teach the library staff and they in their turn will train their visitors as they go on the bus for a week or more, in their communities. It is a cooperation between Jönköping regional library, Jönköping regional council, Mediacenter region Jönköping, the Swedish Library Association and the libraries in Huskvarna, Gislaved, Nässjö and Eksjö. We will also visit summer camps and other places during the summer.
Project leader “Skaparbibblan”
Vaggeryds bibliotek: http://bibliotek.vaggeryd.se/web/arena/skaparbibblan
Regionbibliotek Region Jönköping: http://plus.rjl.se/news.jsf?nodeId=40544&childId=23012
3D Printing incubator at Rijeka City Library, Croatia
Rijeka City Library is currently the only Croatian public library that is developing some kind of maker space. At the Children Department, the library is developing an incubator of 3D printing for children and youth which is supported by EIFL PLIP. The main objective of the service is to make 3D printing technology available to the public in general, especially to children and young people who don’t have this still too expensive technology at schools or at homes.
The library wants to inspire and motivate them to think about the creative process of making which is very important in the context of strongly developed consumer societies. The library also believes that the digital age has brought a new definition of literacy and that 3D computer modelling is becoming essential part of it with graphic design, coding, game development etc. To support these goals library is organising workshops of 3D modeling for children and youth, lectures for school and public, developing a special website, where users are writing about digital culture and making.It is interesting that the 3D incubator is mostly working with kids 9 to 10 years old which is really a young age to enter the world of 3D modeling and printing!
It should be noted that this service was created out of nothing since the library had never before developed anything similar, but motivation was found in a fact that the library really wants to be part of the development of new digital makers. In the last few months the 3D incubator worked on many cool 3D projects but this is really interesting: the library helped the development of a real prosthetic leg for one medical patient! Also during the project children and youth began to express preferences for other areas of makers activities – e.g. 3D scanning, Arduino, development of video game. The library sees the huge value of this areas but the question of capacity arises (space, technology, people, funding) but this is a story for another article.
Rijeka City Library, Croatia
MediaLAB at the Russian State Library for Young Adults, Moscow
In April 2015 a new MediaLAB opened at the Russian State Library for Young Adults. It is a space for creativity, education, and working on your ownprojects – a space that conveniently combines different eras: here you can reminisce about how things used to be and imagine what’s going to happen in a few years. Visitors can use three powerful computers with graphic and engineering software (CorelDRAW, Adobe Photoshop CS6, Inkscape, GIMP, Blender, SketchUp Make and more – about 20 in total) to work on their projects: for example, you can create any object and print it out on our 3D printer. We also have a graphics tablet, an electronic magnifier, and a reading scanner. The latter is very easy to use: the scanner, the computer, and the speakers are all rolled into one device. Press a few buttons – and you can listen to any text (even in a foreign language) without using your eyesight at all.
If you’d like to know more (or tell your children) about the origins of books, electronic readers, flash drives, and computers, then our E-Book Museum is just what you need. You can explore our hands-on exhibits on your own or use our audioguides and iPads to learn more. If you still have questions, our staff are always happy to give you a guided tour. We often invite interesting and knowledgeable guests who share their expertise with our readers. MediaLAB hosts IT Club meetings (the recent ones were about robotics), E-Book Museum lectures about pre-computer computing and new developments in information technology. We are planning to run workshops on retro devices – film and slide projectors – and show slides from the library’s collection.
MediaLAB is open 7 days a week. We offer lots of opportunities, and we care about our visitors’ interests and needs.
Head of MediaLAB
Russian State Library for Young Adults, Moscow, Russian Federation
International Relations Department
Russian State Library for Young Adults, Moscow, Russian Federation
MediaLAB on the RSLYA’s official website: http://www.rgub.ru/en/library/halls/item.php?new_id=2307
Stavanger Library, Norway
Stavanger library, Sølvberget and Stavanger Makerspace are collaborating in different ways. Every Monday and Thursday, we welcome everyone to come to the library to work on their own projects. We have free equipment for everyone to use, such as 3D printers (MakerBot), CNC mill, soldering iron, drill, dremel and much more. We also organize workshops with Makerspace on 3D design teaching scanning, design, and printing your own 3D models.
In the autumn we're launching a project with youngsters who want to build an arcade filled with old retro video games. We hope to create a fun atmosphere where you can play with your friends and learn about electronics. We’re also planning to create a micro quadcopter obstacle course in the library where you can come with your own or try one of ours.
We choose workshops and events with those who show up and are the most active guests. We are very flexible and prefer activities that offer young people an inspiring evening at the library.