Contact: Linda Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org
The EPL Makerspace opened in October 2013 and provides access to space, technology, and services for Edmonton citizens of all ages with the goal of facilitating opportunities for the community to engage in maker activities, to innovate, and to meet and share skills with other makers. EPL’s Makerspace features three 3D printers; an Espresso Book Machine; green wall with lighting & photography equipment; digital conversion equipment; Windows and Mac creative workstations loaded with photo editing, illustration, music making, coding, game design, and video production software; a video game area with a XBOX One and PS4 consoles and two gaming computers; and two sound recording booths, each with an iMac, various music making software packages as well as microphones and instruments. The space also has Lego Mindstorm kits, Sphero and Dash/Dot Robots, Raspberry Pi kits, Arduino starter kits, Makey Makey kits, and Little Bits kits. The EPL Makerspace staff utilize 20 laptops for programs and classes within the space and in the adjacent program room. Except for material cost recovery on 3D printing and Espresso book machine prints, access to all of these resources is provided free. It is open and staffed seven days a week, with the same hours as the main branch in which it is housed. Staff are available to assist customers with creative projects and consult on project ideas, as well as manage printing requests and operate the book machine and 3D printers. The EPL Makerspace offers – through staff and community partner collaboration – ongoing tours; hands on learning experiences for school classes with a range of programs such as Lego Robotics or introductions to 3D printing; workshops such as Music Maker Mondays; community events such as a video game writing talk and an open data day; and outreach to engage different audiences – makers and physical computing enthusiasts, schools, parents and children, teachers and educators, coders and open data enthusiasts, local gaming communities, city departments, and emerging entrepreneurs.
In the first 18 months, EPL’s Makerspace has sparked excitement with different sectors of our community. Through tours and hands on learning sessions we have introduced classes from grade two through college level to 3D printing, Scratch programming, creative physical computing with Makey Makey and Little Bits, robotics, and book publishing. In 2014, almost 5,000 people attended our programs, tours and classes. We’ve hosted 3D modelling workshops for city departments, librarians from other cities, educators for regional education systems wanting to learn about makerspaces, local youth groups, an agency-sponsored group of women re-entering the workforce, and a division of teachers assigned to lead project-based learning. We have made formal presentations at schools, conferences, informal meet-ups and are newly and increasingly well connected to our making and tech communities. EPL’s Makerspace has produced nearly 5,000 3D prints for the public – including prints by library regulars and newcomers (from age six and up) creating models for the first time, 3D designers, local artists, fans designing costumes, and those citizens prototyping tools, products or otherwise problem solving. We have had enthusiasts printing parts for robotics, various computing projects, or 3D printer parts for their own reprap style printer. The book printing service has been embraced by self-publishing authors, history enthusiasts, academics, artists, small business, and families with several thousand book copies printed on hundreds of requests. On any given day in the makerspace, it is possible to see a citizen authoring a fan film in video production software, both sound booths being used for making music, podcasts or recording oral histories, a 3D designer experimenting with Kinect scanning, and a citizen who is experimenting with photography, music software or learning animation for a project. EPL’s video game stations and gaming PCs are heavily utilized throughout the day. Gaming events regularly bring out 20-60 local gamers on Friday evenings and a talk with Bioware writers brought out 200+ people. We’re just getting started! - www.epl.ca/makerspace.