Residents encouraged to get creative with Innovation Studio

September 22, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — Staff and volunteers at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library are receiving training on a new collaboration with the Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities project to host a rotating Makerspace in the library.

As part of the project, the library’s Innovation Studio will receive equipment during a 20-week hosting period, including components from digital fabrication (3D printer, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, CNC router), electronics (prototype kits, microcontrollers, robotics), Textiles (heat press, embroidery/sewing machine), digital media creation (filmmaking/digital photography), music technology and specialized software, button maker, laminator and basic hand tools.

This learning environment provides the opportunity for adults and young people to access technology and stimulate creativity, innovation and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skill development and local economic development, said Noelle Thompson, library director. The Library Innovation Studio is an opportunity for the library and community to engage in hands-on, innovative learning and design regardless of experience. Training will be provided for all levels of users.

“Those seeking new skills, starting a new business, or experimenting with a new idea can experiment and learn here,” Thompson said.

Peggie Michael, assistant librarian, traveled to Lincoln for training at the UNL Makerspace. The machines in the Innovation Studio are entry level sized, but provides users with the ability to start with an introduction to the technology and learn if there is something bigger you’d like to make later.

Assistant Librarian Peggie Michael was animated in her descriptions of the myriad items a person could make.

“The things you can do is amazing,” Michael said. “Come in and check it out.”

Michael said people can come in with their own designs, which can be transferred to Corel Draw so they can make an actual product. If you can imagine it, you can probably make it.

“It isn’t just about making trinkets,” Michael said. “This is about things we use in every day life.”

The only restrictions are weapons, holsters and pieces of guns are prohibited. The router is limited to 12x8 pieces of wood solely due to the size of the machine.

“I have found you can create clocks,” Michael said. “The coolest thing I have made was a T-shirt.”

T-shirts in the Innovation Studio are made by sublimation, a printing process that uses heat to transfer dyes into fabric.

“With sublimations, you can take pictures and put it on your T-shirt,” Michael said. “I love that. It is unique because it’s yours.”

Michael said buttons are the easiest things to make and are great for fundraisers.

“We supply the backing and the mylar for the buttons,” she said. “You just need to bring in your picture or design and we can show you how to make it a button.”

With all the options available, Michael said there are many more things she wants to make.

Use of machines will be free, and makers may bring in their own materials, such as wood, glass, or fabric, or they may purchase materials in the studio. The library is also accepting donations for consumable materials to offer to makers at no charge. Donations may be delivered to the library at any point during the project.

In addition to accepting donations of materials, the library welcomes volunteers to teach the public to use the equipment.

The Makerspace will open to the public on Tuesday, Oct. 2 and remain at the library until Feb. 4, 2019. For more information, or if you would like to volunteer as a trainer, contact Noelle Thompson at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library, 308-630-6250.

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