Libraries. The word itself conjures up visions of row upon row of old dusty books and yellowing newspapers hanging from wooden racks, but here at SPC our students and the public have a fantastic opportunity inside the Seminole Campus Library. That’s because we have the ability to make, design, and create through the Innovation Lab, or “iLab“, run by our very own Chad Mairn. “Maker spaces” have recently popped up in libraries all over, and we are no exception.
So what exactly is a “maker space”?
Put simply, a “maker space” is an accessible space with equipment or resources available for library patrons to create. For example, one library has a recording studio complete with mixers, mics, amps, and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). In our case, we have a design computer station with 3-D printers; Arduino kits available for checkout; hackerboxes, highly involved electronic projects; and breadboards, blank boards with the capability to hold resistors, capacitors, integrated circuit boards, transistors etc. to build anything you want. Virtual reality headsets are also in the space, and Chad has done an amazing job crossing entertainment with education by incorporating incredible programs that allow students to walk through virtual interfaces. In one, students can visit a historical event from hundreds of years ago. In another they can visit the inside of a human skeleton, walk around it, and even hold the skull as Hamlet did!
Creation Meeting Application
The Seminole Library iLab does more than just create; it can solve problems. For example, a door on the campus wasn’t properly opening and closing because a small piece was worn out. Unfortunately, a new one was cost prohibitive and difficult to acquire. Chad and a few of the facilities crew teamed up and created a replacement piece after rendering a scan and producing the piece with the printer. Similarly, an actuator connector was designed and printed to replace faulty campus parts in January. This connector helps control many of SPC’s temperature water valves, and continues to save the college over $200 in replacement fees.
In another amazing example of creativity meets application, a patron used the 3-D design studio to mount the nurse “help/TV volume/bed adjustment button” found in hospitals on the side of the patient’s bed bar. By developing this specialized mount, the devices are now able to clip and hang, solving the problem of what to do with this box while keeping accessibility in mind.
Drop in to the second floor of the SPC Seminole Library to take a peek at what’s going on and imagine what you could design, create, and make!