Belfast Library’s new makerspace combines high, low technology for modern creativity

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 9:45am

BELFAST — Check out the new Makerspace housed in the Belfast Free Library’s third-floor conference room. Libraries nationwide have been opening Makerspaces where the public can access special equipment, materials, and assistance to learn and create.

The library’s new Makerspace is intended to be a community center for children and adults to foster creativity and to support informal learning as well as scheduled programming, according to the Library, in a news release.

The library has hosted two inaugural programs making use of the Makerspace and its materials. The first program was button-making for teens. This program combined high-tech and low-tech: searching designs online and printing with the new color printer, then using an old-fashioned hand-operated button maker to create custom buttons (pins). The second program featured Maine State Library’s Gizmo Garden hands-on science program for kids. Participants created clay pots and wired circuitry boards that made the pots self-watering.

Upcoming programs to be scheduled include a weekly Scratch computer-programming class and a series of programs on creating family memory books.

The new Makerspace was funded by a grant from the William W. Treat Foundation. The grant funded a variety of new equipment for the Makerspace, including a computer cart housing 10 PC laptops, a Macbook, a high-resolution scanner, and a multi- format color printer; and a 55” Bluetooth accessible wall-mounted monitor; an electronic sewing machine; a camcorder with tripod and external microphones; and studio lights and green screen background. Adobe Cloud software is available, and all computers are equipped with Microsoft Office Suite.

Also, hands-on educational materials are available for library programs or educational groups. The ever-growing list of such material includes Snap Circuits, Little Bits, Arduino board, Lilypad sewable electronics, Dot and Dash robots, and three 8-inch Android tablets.

The Belfast Free Library Makerspace is available for individuals and groups by appointment.

For more information, contact the library at 207-338-3884.