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LAPL's Octavia Lab

Los Angeles Public Library

Contact: Lauren Kratz,


The Octavia Lab is an award-winning do-it-yourself makerspace at the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library named after the award-winning science fiction author Octavia E. Butler. Octavia Lab gives library cardholders free and unlimited access to state-of-the-art design, fabrication, preservation, and story-telling technologies. People of all ages use Octavia Lab to access equipment to create projects and archive their collections. Patrons used the DIY Memory Lab to preserve and digitize photos and documents as well as perform analog-to-digital conversion; Laser Cutter to carve and etch designs into fabrics and solid materials; 3D Printers and a 3D Scanner to render and fabricate objects straight out of their imaginations; CNC Mill to carve small items; Silhouette Cutting Tool and Vinyl Cutter for creating such things as vinyl stickers; Large Format Printer for large-scale posters and photos; Sewing and Embroidery Machines; and Audio and Video Production tools and equipment.


  • Staff, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, pivoted from maker to manufacturer to deliver more than 126,000 face shields to local area hospitals. The lab also partnered with Goodwill and Los Angeles County to create jobs for 215 youth in the face shield production effort.
  • Lab staff created a series of coloring sheets highlighting the unsung heroes of Los Angeles and to honor Octavia E. Butler’s legacy. The coloring sheets were meant to provide calm during stressful times. Virtual programs with the families of those honored with coloring sheets built community and gave people a sense of purpose while managing uncertainty. This effort blossomed into partnerships with the Huntington Library, and even local institutions like the Autry Museum used the coloring sheets in their educational outreach programs.
  • The Friends Group for the Science, Technology & Patents Department, which houses the Octavia Lab, BEST Friends, published “Hidden Heroes, Historic Places” a compilation of the coloring sheets to date, which is currently sold in the Library Store at Central Library and via Amazon.