Saturday, August 31, 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 Calendar:

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 explains how, using simple and inexpensive items, you can engineer reactive displays for your porch, lawn and (Haunted) house! In his talk, Kevin will teach you:
* How to use simple motion sensors to activate lights, sound and wind effects
* How to electrify your Jack-o-lantern with simple electronics
* How make creepy low lying fog from a fog machine.
* How to get the stuff you need to start creating interactive professional quality effects for your next Halloween.

Adults only. Soldering skills will be taught.  Supply cost: $20. Please bring in cash. Only space for 10 adults.
You will come away with knowledge and a functioning LED light board for a Jack-o-Lantern.

Space is limited for both these events. Sign ups begin on Sept. 7th on the Meeting Room Calendar:

Friday, August 30, 2013

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.

Bookmarks Syping with YA author at Cedar Hill

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.

Natalie Goodrich, 92 years young
One of the things I have learned from this is, you have to believe in it yourself, completely. It's not about responding to patron demand - they didn't know they wanted Laughter Yoga. We exposed them to it and they embraced it.

Starting new things has to be a magical synergy of what you are interested in AND patrons' enthusiasms. One or the other can't do it alone.

Stay tuned for new insights from our exploration of Makerspaces as a new model for library service delivery....!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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.

I'm making a blanket, can you tell?
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.

Karen, in turquoise, during a teachable moment.

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 of this particular skill and making something from scratch. But I am interested in the melding of technology and crafts, especially light up clothing! Maybe that will be a Makerspace project in the future.

If you are a knitter, or any type of fiber artist, come and join us! Are there other crafting groups that you would like to see at the Duxbury Free Library?

And if you're interested, listen to Karen and me talk about knitting on this podcast episode of The Diffle Presents: The Diffle Presents: Episode 6, The Lowdown on Knitting

WIP: Work In Process

Sunday, August 18, 2013

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 golf course that challenged all who played.

Quinn, Ben, and Andrew helped younger children make paper rockets to shoot off with the Stomp Rocket launchers we built in the Spring with Chris Connors direction. The Angry Birds Catapult and the Hunger Games - inspired archery contest were additions that required no explanation.

We're hoping to use this activity as an after school experience and share it out with other town agencies, if they are interested.  Thanks to the three dedicated parents who helped us manage the separate activities!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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 Faire is 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 host a Mini Maker Faire at the DFL!

Check out my pics:
Casey making his badge
Ellen's badge

Thursday, August 8, 2013

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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 Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Larsen, and how they emphasize taking appropriate risks. I was reminded of the wonderful advent of commuter rail service to our town and sending my youngest daughter off on the train to Boston with her friend, on her own. Practicing with me first, then taking the plunge of going on their own.... Learning how to take risks, not be afraid of failure: getting lost, missing a connection, etc. and this was before the advent of cell phones.

Back to the engineering workshop. Tonight, we practiced. It was a bit frustrating to leave the program without our Drawdio to show off. Does that mean we were unsuccessful? I don't think so. Physics is an unsentimental enterprise. Solder, circuits, material density, connectivity... it all plays a role in the completion of this project. Small idiosyncrasies make all the difference. We learned the vagaries of soldering, how it is important to test before moving forward... Practice makes perfect. All these things are good.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

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 expressed how it was like Jenga, a board game where structures are built and players must remove one piece without the structure falling.

Our second week, we made balloon powered cars.  Recyclable materials such as bottle caps, discarded CDs, cereal boxes, yogurt cups, and even Dunkin Donuts cups were provided for  body and wheel construction.  The "exhaust" part of the car consisted of balloons and straws. This project explored Newton's laws of motion. 1. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; By blowing up the balloon and releasing it, the air propels the car. Potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy. 2. Heavier objects require more force to move; We realized during car construction that straw size , balloon size, and car weight were variables that affected distance.

Our third week was a bit hit. We ordered Makey-Makeys, circuits that allow users to turn ordinary conductive objects such as bananas, aluminum foil, or nickels into a computer keyboard/video game controller. Makey-Makeys are connected to any computer with a USB.  Alligator clips are then placed strategically to control commands that correspond to the keyboard such as a piece of celery turns into the space bar, and the banana becomes the up arrow key. Your body acts as the ground circuit. From there, games were bookmarked onto each computer to try. We used PAC-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Flash Flash Revolution, and Scratch Piano.  Families experimented with the organization of their controllers and what to use as a ground. A student made an aluminum foil bracelet/ring to connect to himself so his hands were free.  Another family began using materials they brought with them themselves to test conductivity such as play-doh. To develop this program further, students could use Scratch, free MIT computer software, to construct their own games that respond to the Makey-Makey. We hope to use Scratch to make our own staircase piano.

Our closing week was Little Bits. These are magnet circuit kits broken down into easy color coded segments (no soldering required). There is the power circuit (blue) which includes a 9V battery, the input circuit (pink) which includes a multitude of switches and knobs, and an output circuit (green) which could be an led light, fan, vibrating motor, etc. These pieces can be taken apart and reassembled into many combinations with just a starter kit.  Students could then build a device around the circuit such as a lighthouse or brush bot. Many projects are exemplified on their website from child creators and the inventors.  We used Legos. We found many students just enjoyed the many facets of the circuits without touching the Legos. Imagine that!

The DFL children's room is excited to take our findings during our Makerspace Monday experiments and implement it into our fall programming. Stay tuned!