Our local makers club, Northumberland Makers, held an open house last weekend to celebrate their grand opening in a new, dedicated location (a pretty cool community space, but that’s another story).
It offers access to many tech tools: 3D printers, tool & die cutters, a soldering station, robotics and much more – but what really struck me was that all of the new technology peacefully (and dare I say enthusiastically) co-existed beside their low-tech offerings such as toy hacking, duct tape crafting and collaborative weaving. Below is my duct tape rose and my son’s creation (“I feel like Sid from Toy Story but not as evil”).
I found this very heartening in light of our library’s choice to narrow the focus on our own makerspace this past school year. We’ve seen many inspiring spaces at school and public libraries, but had to face two important facts:
- our current skillset, areas of interest and budget lies more in realm of crafting
- our tech dept is ramping up their student space (3-D printer, rockets, robotics, etc)
And so our Tinker Table was born. It lives at the front of the library (although it makes periodic trips to the Commons), and students can find a new craft or activity each week. While we’ve included Arduino in our arsenal, most offerings involve low- (button maker) or no-tech materials (washi-taped thank you cards).
It’s wonderful to be reminded that while we aim to offer something for everyone, it’s okay not to try to be all things to all patrons. Whew (cue sigh of relief). Off to tinker….