Library to receive equipment for community use

Hastings Memorial Library has been selected to host Nebraska’s Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities makerspaces.  

The project uses makerspaces hosted by public libraries to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technology and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally.  

This is expected to stimulate creativity, innovation, and the exchange of ideas to facilitate entrepreneurship, skills development and local economic development.

 The equipment includes components from the following categories and will be housed in the library’s community room:

• Digital fabrication—3D printer, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, CNC router;

• Electronics—prototype kits, microcontrollers, robotics;

• Textiles —heat press, embroidery/sewing machine;

• Digital media creation—filmmaking/digital photography;

• Music technology;

• Specialized software— computers, printers, button maker, laminator, etc.

Staff and local community volunteers will be trained on the equipment and will be available to assist individuals and small groups interested in using the makerspace. The library is slated to receive the equipment in November and will host the makerspace for five months.

Library Director Robin Quinn said the goal is to determine which pieces of equipment the community used most, and hopefully pursue a permanent makerspace for the community. 

There are 27 libraries that have been chosen to host the makerspace with five more to be selected. 

“This partnership demonstrates how our Nebraska communities can use technology and education to empower community residents to create, learn, and invent,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “By expanding the skills of the workforce in our communities, supporting entrepreneurs, and encouraging lifelong learning, this partnership reinforces our vibrant business climate and supports community development.” 

The Nebraska Library Commission was awarded a National Leadership Grant of $530,732 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this partnership project with the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Extension, Regional Library Systems, and local public libraries.  

“Nebraska’s public libraries are the natural gathering points for people to come together to share materials, knowledge, and experiences,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Whether the materials and tools are high tech or low tech, digital or analog, art or science, the focus is to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover using the tools, materials, and knowledge available. Libraries have always been dedicated to community partnership, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas—makerspaces are the next step in that progression.”

This project began July 1, 2017 and will conclude June 30, 2020.  

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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