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Make it at the library

Posted on March 25, 2014 by Sunny South News

Libraries have changed a lot in the past decade or so. If you haven’t been to a public library in a while you might be surprised to find that they aren’t silent places. You might find children giving their parents a puppet show, a yoga class in a programming room, or a group of musicians mixing their next album.

Recently, I attended the Southern Alberta Library Conference in Lethbridge, where we discussed the influence of “maker culture” on libraries.

As I understand it, maker culture involves finding innovative ways to reuse objects, create functional gadgets, or innovate with technology.

While libraries have always been places to get information, more and more libraries are creating space and providing the tools so things can actually be made on site.

As the conference keynote speaker, David Lee King put it, we are moving away from being “supermarkets” to being “kitchens.”

I applaud the idea of creating more community engagement by applying maker ideals to the  Coaldale Public Library.

Edmonton Public Library recently opened a state-of-the art high-tech maker-space including an onsite book publishing machine and several 3D printers.

While we don’t have a cool $125,000 sitting around for a self-publishing book machine in Coaldale, I know there are smaller possibilities that could also be exciting.

We had a craft sale at the library in November. What if the library just provided a space for people to show and share what they were working on?

We have offered several children’s art classes at the library this year.  What if we also had studio space artists could use and meet with other artists to share techniques and ideas?

Are you a gardener? Would you find it useful if the library had a seed library or a library of rarely needed garden tools you could borrow?

For me the ideas are just starting to percolate and I know it may take time for the idea to take hold in Coaldale. Are you intrigued? Do you have ideas of how the library could help you to create something?

Talk to your neighbours, talk to your friends and feel free to pop into the library and talk to me about what you’d like to make.

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