A Look at the Akron Public Library Mini Maker Faire
In September I went and visited the Akron Public Library in Ohio to check out it’s Mini Maker Faire. They had around 60 individuals and groups participate, setting up booths throughout the library. They began marketing the event early, giving people time to make their creations:
While browsing the various exhibits I met some very awesome teen makers, like Matt who is a 16-year-old that does 3D printing. His mother was there proudly supporting him and she told me how Matt had gone out and gotten a job so that he could buy himself a 3D printer. He makes a variety of gaming pieces. In addition, he made a Thor hammer and a Darth Vader.
I also met Witt. He makes handcrafted miniatures in painstaking detail and some of them are fully functional.
There were also several local robotics teams in attendance.
The Akron Public Library also used this time to highlight several of their own spaces and projects. They currently have a digital media studio:
And they are in the process of acquiring some new technology, like a laser cutter and engraver, that will become open to the public sometime in October:
When I talked to the librarians at APL they were still working out the final details about how the public would be able to use these maker tools and where their final location inside the library would be.
The Teen Librarians from APL were also demonstrating their Makey Makey and Squishy Circuits which they will be using in teen programming:
They were playing video games using Playdough and making music using potatoes.
The event itself was well organized and had good signage. Signage is a thing I always pay attention to. They even had a one page sheet that listed every participant, what kind of activity they did and where you could find them. And the various booths were organized by type. For example, all of the textile makers were together in the Fiber Arts Zone. Similarly, all the robotics teams were located together in the Technology Center.
And finally, I just want to share this cool activity that one of the groups in the Fiber Arts Zone had for participants to do (I think it was a local quilting group) that would be good for Storytime or a younger maker activity: an interactive felt quilt!
I picked up a lot of cool ideas for maker activities at this event. I also enjoyed getting to see and talk to teens who were passionate about making, many of them completely on their own. If you have a Maker Faire happening near you, definitely check it out.
Filed under: Makerspace
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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