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New ideas for Circulation-Library of Things/ Makerspace Kits

The DFL currently experiments with hobby, STEAM, and Technology kits that are housed both in the adult section and the kids room. These kits include musical instruments, video equipment, puzzles, cake plans, robots, looms, and more available for checkout.  The kits are bought using our Amazon prime account, under the supervision of the head of circulation using a special makerspace kit budget and backed up by a kit committee made up of various departments to streamline the process. 
The kits with the most holds by far have been the Retro Nintendo and Super Nintendo Classic which were small batch pre-Christmas releases for the last two years.  Rather than blowing the dirt out of your old cartridges, these consoles have games built in for your playing pleasure. According to Walmart, the Nintendo "classics" are on sale as of today.  Our kit contains a small palm sized console, 2 controllers (try to upgrade wireless ones if you can), an ac adapter, and, I recommend, a carrying …
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Nintendo Labo

Sorry readers! I have been newly promoted to Head of Children's Department at my current library and have not had too much time to experiment in Makerspace land...HOWEVER....

I did go to Gamestop to drool over buying a Nintendo Switch because I love Super Mario games and noticed this....

Even Nintendo has jumped on the makerspace train with LABO. I don't think it would hold up as a checkout-able kit but if you do have a Nintendo Switch as a gaming cart or program item at your library it would be a neat thing to display or build one of the kits with a small group. If you don't want to spend the money to purchase the official kit, maybe kids can be encouraged to create their own cardboard inventions for the Switch using Makedos instead?

I actually made it out of the store without buying the Switch....FOR NOW...

3D Printing and Fiber Arts Come Together

We've been getting into needle felting lately at the library. It is really amazing what someone can make just by stabbing wool over and over about stress relief from crafting!!

One beginners tip is using cookie cutters when you are first starting out to make easy shapes.  So why not 3D print our own cookie cutters?  Here's one of a cat face I found from Yeggi:  It took about an hour to print actual size on our Ultimaker 2.

Before we get started, here are the needle felting tools you will need: 

Needle Felting Kit (this one comes with roving wool too)
and YES, wear those leather caps for your fingers even if they look goofy. The needle is not like a normal needle. It is barbed AND IT HURTS.

For more color options you can buy bulk roving wool and if you like going with a cute animal kit Hamanka has a ton!

Grab some wool and place it in the cookie cutter shape.

Hold down with your hand (just not too close to where you are stabbing) and go to town using y…

Favorite Podcasts

I have only recently jumped into the podcast craze last summer (I know where have I been right? Thanks to Serial) so I thought I'd take a break from makerspaces and share my favorites so far..

99 % Invisible- Did you know that the CIA can come visit a studio set and shut down the operation if prop money used is too "realistic"?  Why aren't we on the metric system yet? These are just a few of the small things that make HUGE impacts. This is the podcast for unsung heroes and things you would never hear about otherwise.

Reply All- How easy is it to hack Trumps phone? Is Facebook really listening to us through our phones? a fascinating technology podcast for all people, minus the crazy jargon, that shapes our lives whether we know it or not.

Revisionist History- Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite non-fiction authors, talks about the little things that make a big difference throughout history.  Who knew he hated golf courses so much?

Worst Best Sellers- these librarians are…

It's Almost Time For Hour of Code

Hour of Code is coming December 4th-11 so be sure to take part in their online activities and let your local schools know how easy it is to join up. In addition this year I will be hosting a littleBits & Lego WeDo workshops after school for drop in activities.  One of my favorite robots, Dash will probably make an appearance as well (shhhh don't tell Cozmo).

littleBits has been doing a great job putting educators and technology business reps together for webinars so be sure to become a part of their email list. I recently attended:

How to Host An Epic Hour of Code

They are also adding lots of content to their library community blog like this post from one of their Global Chapters including Educators Guide with lesson plans to help kick start your littleBits programming.  One in particular is a curriculum using their coding kit. One thing I took away from the webinar that I didn't know was Scratch is also making lesson plans to guide educators in using their products and host…

3D Printing Challenge: Stuff you see on the web!

Lately I see things on the internet and before I automatically hit the buy on Amazon button I say to myself, "Wait a minute...can I 3D print that?"

Today's venture was a one-handed page holder that I saw on this post of tiny but life changing inventions. I immediately got out my digital caliper and measured my thumb length and width. In less than 20 minutes, I made myself something similar using the cylinder shape, roof, and a user generated "mustache" shape.   See the tinkercad design. It took about 1.5 hours to print on the normal CURA settings with the Ultimaker 2. I left the raft and supports everywhere just in case.  It measures 89 mm x 30 mm x 25mm once grouped. Now I can hold my tea in one hand, and safely prop the book steadily in the other.

littleBits & Star Wars

So littleBits just announced on their website that they are releasing a build your own C3PO robot for $100.  I would be a little nervous about circulating it because it has many of the delicate wires that could easily be ripped out but it would be a perfect edition for Hour of Code activities in December or other in house robot programs.  Note: A tablet or phone is required to program the droid to complete missions.

On the note of delicate wires, I am so sick and tired of the regular littleBits makerspace kits we have coming back with broken battery chords.  I have pretty much replaced them every 2 checkouts. I just broke down and bought the USB bit and the AC adapter.  All batteries, power bits and chords will be removed! Here's an old post about what to include in those littlebits checkout kits because be warned some of those bits do not survive the wear and tear of children's take home use.