CUYAHOGA FALLS — In today’s world, a person may be just as likely to visit the library to work on a sewing project, or use a 3D pen, or take advantage of a Cricut product, as check out a book or DVD.
The Cuyahoga Falls Library has an area dedicated to those who may have a craft or project they want to work on but may not have the supplies needed at home.
“We have everything from low tech to high tech,” said Missy Littell, customer experience manager, referring to the library’s MakerSpace, which opened in April 2018. It cost about $9,000 to put the room together.
Not only does the library have the tools and equipment available for a wide variety of projects, it offers classes on how to use the resources, Littell said. For example, the library hosts Tech Tuesdays, where patrons can sign up for a one-on-one half hour training session with a technology trainer. Those interested in a session can reserve through the Adult Services department in person or over the phone. Walk-ins are accepted as time permits.
Library Director Valerie Kocin said that the library’s MakerSpace fit “the concept of innovation.”
“While books are our primary core product, it’s not the only reason to come,” Kocin said. “Our digital circulation is up 23 percent.”
Kocin added that a grant was received to help pay for the one-on-one tech assistant.
Some of the equipment and software available to patrons in the MakerSpace include:
• A Cricut crafting machine
• Button makers
• Adobe Creative Suite
• Jewelry making tool kit
• VHS to DVD converter
• A green screen
• An Ellison die cutter, and
• A sewing machine.
The space is open to people of all ages, Littell said. Teachers may use the space to learn about technology so they can teach their students. Crafters and entrepreneurs could use the space to help them reach their goals. The library also provides STEM programming to children, she added.
"The MakerSpace opens the door for all types of partnerships," Kocin said. She added that some groups have come in to take the classes and use the equipment.
Littell said the MakerSpace also has a 3D printer; it is not open for public use, but is used for the library's classes on designing and printing using the device.
"It teaches the design process," Littell said. She added that the library will print out the patron designs for free. "It's my favorite class to teach. We don't just make trinkets. These items can be designed to help solve problems. They can make a drawer organizer, a new light switch for a lamp where the light switch was broken, or gifts."
Another popular resource is the Cricut Design Space, Littell said. Patrons can bring their craft supplies to work on; the library sells a few items as well, at cost.
Some items for kids include Cubelets, small blocks which can be joined together magnetically, and can be coded. Young children also may like the Code-a-pillar, a robot where children can connect and disconnect the multiple segments to make the robotic caterpillar go on different paths.
"We have everything for very small children to seniors," Littell said. "The intergenerational aspect is cool. I've seen where in a 3D printer class, a kid may lean over to help an older adult."
Say an entrepreneur or artisan makes an item and wishes to sell it online. The MakerSpace covers that as well, with a photo lightbox, a greenscreen, and photo and video editing software, Littell said.
"It's been great to watch the people, see the ideas forming," Littell said. "'I can make this! I can solve this problem!' It's wonderful to see their reactions."
MakerSpace hours with staff present are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. The area is open but unstaffed Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. New visitors are encouraged to visit during a staffed time.
For details, go to the information desk, visit http://cuyahogafallslibrary.org/makerspace/ or call 330-928-2117.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC