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Showing posts from April, 2015

Breaking the barrier between techie and artist

Moving library programming from passive to active modes has attracted and revealed many people's dual strengths. We love it when the artistic side of people's personalities meets up with their nerdy, techie side. Regular, reliable times when teens can come in to tinker has opened up programs to many busy teens who may have thought they couldn't possible squeeze in another activity.

Cases in point:

Lauren Matthews, a poet, fan fiction writer, and excellent conversationalist, is also keenly interested in creating sculptures and objects with our 3D printers. She is also a whiz at Garageband and photo editing tools, a useful skill when creating our Radiofaces podcasts.


Ted Wahle is a big, big, music fan. He hosts one of our music-themed podcasts and has become an expert on designing for the 3D printer. He likes to pursue his artistic as well as his techie side.
He's hoping to do some live streaming interviews for us at the Levitate music festival this summer!

At the library,…

Do you want to be a littleBits global chapter?

littleBits has rolled out it's latest collaborative venture, global chapters. Global chapters have an 8 event commitment per year which is easy for any library or school with a variety of littleBits collections and regular after school science programming.  Why not use this as a stepping stone into a year wide goal of science programming?  8 events is not even once a month and we are already planning for 3 events this summer with the superhero theme. In our Mad Science Mondays littleBits will be out for use in setting superhero traps/gadgets and building lairs or hideouts. In our Cardboard Car Drive In, littleBits will be out to add horns and lights as design options for the cars. Kids will watch a short film after they decorate their cars.

In exchange for becoming a chapter, you can get lots of swag, a global resource of educators to share ideas with in monthly support calls, and free event marketing from the littleBits website. The only chapter so far in Massachusetts is the Mu…

Happy National Library Week!

I was so glad that this year's ALA National Library Week was "Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library" because I feel that way in my job most days. Today I'm designing displays, tomorrow I'm coming up with a new marketing campaign, and the day after I could be 3D Printing. The profession itself is full of possibilities that can tap into a wide array of talents. I am rarely bored. This year we have made many updates to our collection and the library itself to include checking out hobby/science kits, ROKUs, interactive displays, a Digital Media Lab, and 3D printers to change the way the community sees the library and to invite new collaborators to share in our experiences. We have had the chance to meet inventors and fellow makers due to our Makerspace initiatives that didn't consider themselves regular library users in the past.
In honor of National Library Week, Ellen made 3D printed pins for us and the children's department hosted a science based program t…

Using TinkerCad to build a 3D project

The best way to start designing for a 3D printer is to play with the online program, TinkerCad. This has been our go-to program for our Tinkering Tuesdays in March & April. It does require an internet connection so prepare in advance for any wireless connection issues.

We have been able to go from zero knowledge to creating some funny objects pretty fast using this powerful software. Sign up for a free account and you're ready to build. They have online tutorials to guide you through the beginning process upon your first sign in. My only complaint is they don't have anyway to accurately tell you that you have completed the lesson before moving on to the next. We are fortunate enough to have a Lynda.com account which hosts TinkerCad tutorials too but she talks very fast! Between these two resources, we quickly came up to speed with an accessible program that patrons can work with even at home.



For TinkerCad, it's all about already made shapes (including letters and numb…