Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2013

3-D printing and soldering for adults

We're starting off the Fall season with a bang! Technology updates and adult soldering lessons. 

Saturday, Sept. 21 10:30 - Noon                    Merry Meeting Room
3-D Printing Lecture / Demo Find out what all the fuss is about from engineer, Kevin Osborn, director of research and commercial development for the advanced instruments group at Radiation Monitoring Devices. Kevin will bring in his 3-D printer and another one built by a young hacker friend. He will review the history, bringing us up to the present in terms of current and future applications and you will get to see actual 3-D production at work. Sign ups begin on Sept. 7th on the Meeting Room
Saturday, Sept. 21 1- 3 p.m.                            Setter Room
Electrify Your Halloween Do you love Halloween? Want to do more than build displays for your porch and lawn?Go one step further and make them move, scream and otherwise react to trick or treaters! Join us as Maker Kevin Osborn explai…

One-shot Programs vs. On-going Experiences

Here at the DFL we do a lot of programming - for kids, teens and adults. Now that we are re-focusing our programming energy to become a Makerspace, we are discussing the value of single, one-shot programs vs. on-going week by week or month by month programs. I think we have to do both.

In many ways, single, one-shot programs can be very satisfying. Someone comes in and gives a lecture, a performance, a workshop. Everyone enjoys it, gives great feedback and goes home.

With Dale Doughtery's challenge in mind, "If they build it (a tinkering, exploring, discovering space) they will come," we are trying to fathom how to build sustainable, interesting, patron-driven, creation opportunities.

The models I am leaning on are both my 15 year weekly teen discussion group, which sustains itself, 52 weeks a year - if I'm there or not,

AND, newer upstart status, Laughter Yoga co-led by me and Rose Hickey - a 1 1/2 year weekly experiment.

One of the things I have learned from this …

A Night of Knitting 8/19

On Monday, August 19 a new monthly gathering started at the DFL: Knit Night. Run by Karen Hahn, circulation assistant and passionate knitter, this group will meet the 3rd Monday of every month, 6:00- 8:00PM  in the Resource Room for the foreseeable future.

About 12 women (including me in the middle there) showed up for the first meeting. Many had projects started and were there to enjoy knitting with a group, while others were beginners learning how to knit, and some folks brought difficult projects along to get Karen's help with particular problems. Karen gave us a little lecture about the importance of gauge swatches and was both helpful and encouraging to anyone who had a question.

I, for one, am the only knitter in my circle of family and friends, so it was great to be around people who also like talking about yarn and knitting patterns. Knitting is a great fit with the Makerspace initiative, even though it is not technology based, because it is people sharing their knowledge…

It's not about us... focusing on sharing the enthusiasm for making things.

Check out our video of the day

Collaborating between the teen and children's departments, we had fun bringing many of our newly experienced maker projects to a wider (and younger) audience.  On Saturday, August 17th, we held a Cardboard Carnival indoors and on the adjacent tennis court. It featured Stomp Rockets, an Angry Birds Catapult, and more.

A Take-Apart Room held many broken mechanical and electrical devices on tables with tools available to all who cared to gently unscrew covers, lift out hard drives, remove batteries, separate components. One of our summer friends, Linnea, who comes down from Vermont every summer and who participated in our weekly Do-It-Yourself Club, the PHILS, supervised. She's 11 years old.

Another PHILS member, Stephen, with the help of our Children's Librarian, Jessica Lamarre, showed people how a Makey Makey microprocessor works with metallic tape and the human body to recreate a form of Dance Dance Revolution. He also built a cardboard mini …

Providence Mini Maker Faire

On Saturday a few of us visited the Mini Maker Faire at the Foo Fest on Empire Street in Providence.

Maker Faireis the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

The first thing we were invited to do was to electrify a little Maker badge:
We got to solder the LEDs into the badge, solder the battery holder in and the pin on the back and we were done!

Lots of fun seeing what folks in the Providence area are experimenting with:

3D printers, of course, but also bicycle power, a Segway-like people mover, some dinosaur cardboard constructables, and more.

It was inexplicably dark in the hall but, with the strains of rock music wafting in from the Foo Fest main stage, there was a festive atmosphere!

The BIG Maker Faire coming up is the one in NYC: Sept. 21-22.

Some day it would be awesome to hos…

Assumption of Risk and Release Form

Even under the best and safest of circumstances, accidents can happen.
That's why we have put together a Release Form which we cribbed from the Makerspace Manual and personalized it for use here at our library:               For a MSWord copy of this form, click here

Hands-on soldering tonight at the DFL - not a complete success, but isn't that a good lesson, too?

Engineering is a challenging, demanding enterprise.
We learned that tonight with the Drawdio workshop run by the incomparable Kevin Osborn, with his son and his son's girl friend, and attended by ten highly motivated teens.

We turned on our soldering stations, melted some plastic (phew!) and had some fun attaching transistors, capacitators, resistors, and a very finicky speaker. Then we tested it. uh-oh. Not all worked as planned.

The time flew by and pretty soon parents were peeking in and wondering when we would be done. We wrapped it up by making some tough decisions: should we try to fix our Drawdio boards ourselves or have Kevin take them home to fix and return to us? Some chose one route, others, another. All choices were valid.

This reminded me so much of the blog post I am entering on the YALSA Hub blog on Sept. 3 called, "Taking Risks is Encouraged by the Maker Movement." (Subscribe and wait for it to post.)  In it, I talk about the awesome book, Unbored, by Joshu…

Summer Makerspace Mondays Recap

For four Mondays this summer, the DFL children's room transformed into a place to create and experiment with innovative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) themes as part of our library Makerspace.   This was our first experiment with Makerspace programming in the children's department.

On our first Monday, we set out KEVA planks for families to use their imagination to build structures. A simple instruction handout is given with each set of 200 which provides examples and a short tutorial on proper building techniques. KEVA planks are perfectly balanced. They require no glue or other assembly assistance.  Most structures can be built with 50-100 planks but it is handy to have multiple boxes.  Buildings, trees, and even a marble run was created over the course of our 2 hour drop in program.  We now have a set of planks out among our various board games to encourage free play.  It was inspiring to see everyone dive right in and work on balancing. Many express…