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What is a Makerspace?
Destination DIY

Makerspaces (also known as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and sometimes fablabs) are spaces in communities that allow for creative DIY projects all the while allowing people to learn, invent, and create projects with computers and other technologies. Libraries often host Makerspaces and usually include 3D printers (featured in our last newsletter), craft and hardware supplies, software, and electronics. Other Makerspaces can be found in community centres, private organizations, or school campuses.

Rise in Popularity

Hacking has been present since the popularization of the computer and has been featured heavily in entertainment from the movie The Matrix(1999) to the hacker TV series Mr. Robot(2015). Social media and Internet access has also opened up a new portal for like-minded tinkerers to come together and create. This idea has found homes everywhere from large cities to small municipalities – allowing anyone with an idea the opportunity to create.

Setting up a Makerspace
3D Printer

1. What is your goal for the Makerspace and how will it be used?

Having a goal for your Makerspace will make it well worth the effort it will take to get it up and running. Some ideas for your Makerspace can include: creating new inventions or practice engineering skills, engaging students in creative activities, and inviting members of the community to be more engaged in what your organization has to offer.

2. How do I get started?

Some important things to think about when creating a Makerspace is having a plan of action and having enough space set aside in your organization for it. A lot of work goes into creating a Makerspace, but you can always start small and grow your space over time. This way you can get a feel for what you want your space to become by getting feedback from the people that are using it. Makezine has a great article on how to create a business model for your very own space.

Makerspaces come in all different shapes and sizes. You donít necessarily need all of the latest gadgets and tools in order to have a successful Makerspace. The website Makeuseof has a good article about what equipment you need to start a Makerspace on a budget.

Lego Robot

Many organizations in Industry Canadaís Youth Internship Program (YIP) operate or are looking to implement a Makerspace. In Network 3, Petawawa Public Library is researching and is hoping to implement a Makerspace, and Makerspace programs for members of their community. Over the years, many YIP organizations have created their own Makerspaces. Here are just a few of the cool things that people have come up with:

  • Directing and editing videos
  • Using green screens
  • Organizing Lego clubs to make virtual Lego creations, stop-motion movies, robotics kits and more
  • 3D printers

There are so many amazing resources online to help organizations to set up their very own makerspace. The Makezine website is an excellent resource for Makerspace projects of all difficulties, and a simple Google search yields many different ideas for getting your very own Makerspace up and running.

Success Story – Courtney RiviŤre at Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SD&G) County Library

Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SD&G) County Library

The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SD&G) County Library recently purchased an Ultimaker2 3D printer. During my first two months as an IT Intern with the Library, I spent my time getting to know the printer and its accessory programs, developing a user manual and library policies, and preparing for our launch party the first week of January. I was a little nervous about the publicís reaction to the 3-D printer as I wasnít sure what they thought about our purchase. Fortunately, on the day of the release we had over 100 people come to our launch party! The printer was well received by the community and many individuals showed excitement about this technology. I had more individuals than expected ready to take advanced steps in 3-D modeling and interested in making their own creations come to life. The enthusiasm we received from the community was wonderful, I am constantly getting positive feedback and questions from people who want to learn more. The public is definitely excited about the maker movement and is ready to get their hands on new technology! It was really fun to be a part of the launch party and I am excited to start meeting patrons in one-on-one sessions to show them 3-D modeling and the amazing things a 3-D printer can achieve.