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NJ State Library and LibraryLinkNJ Partner to Launch Makerspace Projects Statewide
The New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ, the New Jersey Library Cooperative, have partnered to launch “New Jersey Library Makerspaces – The Leading Edge,” an initiative that combines equipment with community-driven innovation, and provides library patrons with the tools and space to collaborate to design and build manufactured work.
The project will subsidize 15 Makerspaces at public, school and academic libraries statewide, and will offer creative laboratories where NJ residents can access equipment and information that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Users will be able to share resources and knowledge, collaborate on projects, network and build things.
“The contemporary Makerspace movement is really about creating community spaces where people can learn by doing and engage in exploration and creativity using digital and analog technologies. Such spaces can both enrich and empower library users’ lives,” said Mary Chute, NJ State Librarian. “It’s an extension of the library’s mission – a place of lifelong learning and community engagement – be it public, academic, school, medical or other type of library.”
“Our goal is for libraries to continue to be community centers with tools. We hope to draw in current and new library users of all ages to connect, experiment, and create with a myriad of technology and other materials – in a team, as a family, or as lone explorers,” said Cheryl O’Connor, executive director of LibraryLinkNJ. “Patrons can collaborate on projects that are driven by their own interests – such as science and engineering, art and design, and others – and by doing so, develop the capacity and confidence to innovate.”
The total budget for this project is $115,700 – expanded from $100,000 – with contract awards ranging from $3,750 to $12,500. Projects are varied, involving partnerships with local schools, the arts community, and local entrepreneurs, with a wide range of intended audiences and equipment needs.
The following libraries received awards for their projects:
MAKE | AC - Atlantic City Public Library ($7,500): Dream it - Design it - Do it promotes STEM education, career exploration, self-directed learning, creative expression and entrepreneurship through maker programming to the children and teens of Atlantic City.
Library's Idea and Creation Station - Caldwell College Library ($3,750): K12 and college educators focus on creating 3D objects for use in classrooms for students with visual impairments or who are tactile/kinesthetic learners.
Sharing Our Stories Makerspace - Caldwell Public Library ($3,750): A compact, mobile makerspace with digital recorders and scanners will foster the preservation and sharing of local history, memories and photos online using a network of senior citizens, schools and community groups. An added bonus is a guide to help other libraries create a local history-based makerspace.
EBPLay Lab - East Brunswick Public Library ($7,500) - EBPlay Lab is an open media lab that engages the East Brunswick community in learning and creating content in digital formats. The library will partner with the East Brunswick High School Video Club to sponsor Record.Play, a short film competition for teens. Teens will be invited to create a 90 second “trailer” promoting the services of the East Brunswick Public Library.
The MakerStudio at GCLS - Gloucester County Library System ($12,500): Aligned with the "Educate to Innovate" government initiative, makerspace rooms across the county will engage young and old in creative thinking and encourage community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, art and mechanics.
Play in Always On. Level Up! - Hillsdale Public Library ($3,750): An expansion from 2 hours to 50 hours of successful crafting and nontraditional programming through a mini-makerspace and portable workstations with the help of teachers, students, and passionate community tinkerers.
Hoboken Library Creation Space - Hoboken Public Library ($10,000) - Hoboken Library Creation Space will be a place for community members of all ages and skill levels to have access to tools, technology and training on robotics, editing software and coding. Staffers will collaborate with Stevens Technical Institute students to provide instruction for local high school and middle school students.
MHS Innovation Lab - Manasquan High School Media Center ($5,000): 3D print and scan focus for students - with facilitators- to use creative problem solving and design skills via independent projects.
Make it @ Mount Laurel Library - Mount Laurel Public Library ($7,499.70) – through hands-on programs and drop-in sessions with maker tools such as Makey Makey, Snap Circuits and Squishy Circuits, the library will complement the STEM curriculum and provide a more thorough understanding of STEM topics. Teachers can explore product design in their classrooms and can arrange for students to print out their designs on the library's 3-D printer.
NBFPL Handcrafting Makerspace - New Brunswick Public Library ($10,000) – The NBFPL Handcrafting Makerspace will provide free, regular access to products and materials and introduction to a variety of equipment used in handcrafting and traditional methods of creation, including sewing machines, printing with transfer paper, button making, knitting and small looms. Users will come from all parts of the city and will represent all of New Brunswick's diverse populations. The library's Young Adult librarians will host special programs designed to allow teens their own unique access to makerspace items.
Old Bridge Library Idea Farm - Old Bridge Public Library ($10,000): Creation focused makerspace for a community rooted in agriculture and self-sufficiency with a demonstration garden exploring emergent technologies and home crafts.
M3: Making Memories with Makerspace - Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library (($10,000) – the new M3 ("M Cubed") space will provide the digital resources and space for customers to create films and photographic memories. Individual users and members of community organizations will learn from each other. Middle school students will be training buddies for adults who need assistance with the equipment, which will include software for creating films and photo editing and equipment for digitizing photos.
The Enterprise Zone - Plainfield Public Library ($7,500) – this makerspace will invite artists, designers, craftsmen, hobbyists and students to explore the potential of digital technology and learn how to apply it to their artistic vision. Specialized equipment such as a WACOM drawing tablet and a large format scanner/printer will allow users to scan and/or generate prints up to 36 inches wide for portfolios, art projects and advertising. Community groups and local artists have already expressed strong support for the creation of this makerspace.
Fordham FabLab: Multimedia Collaboration Makerspace - Rutgers University Libraries ($8,796): Foster collaboration among sciences, humanities and performing arts students/faculty to enhance creativity for all in a multimedia space that includes 3D printers and a 3D scanner.
Makerspace on the Go - Somerset County Public Library ($8,157) – Makerspace on the Go – this will be a mobile digital makerspace which will be available for use by all of Somerset County Library's branches. The mobile makerspace will also be available at venues outside of libraries, including senior centers, business organizations and the Somerset County 4-H Fair. It will provide an opportunity for groups of multigenerational individuals to create new and edit existing digital content. Members of the business community can create new electronic marketing materials, seniors will create and/or edit personal electronic materials, and students will be able to create video gaming programs or file servers.