Ready to create? Tualatin Library opens new makerspace
The Tualatin Public Library now has a large separate space dedicated to the pursuit of creative endeavors.
The library's $450,000 makerspace — a specialized section of the library dedicated to creating physical objects and digital media — recently opened in a portion of the library that previously held young adult books and digital media.
"I think it looks fantastic," said Kit Lorelied, the STEAM librarian in charge of the new space. "The energy on our first open lab was just amazing."
That first lab on Oct. 17 attracted 11 participants.
"Tualatin Library is the community's gathering place. It's fabulous to have this new creative space available for our community members to use, and we're excited to see what people will make," said Jerianne Thompson, Tualatin's library director. "This was a great example of public/private partnership. The makerspace funding came from a combination of public funds, grants and a sizable donation from the Tualatin Library Foundation."
Other donors included the Tualatin Rotary Club, TE Connectivity and Tualatin STEAM Team.
The makerspace all fits into a 735-square-foot room, with the following bells and whistles:
• Two differently sized 3D printers, which can replicate an item by creating it out of plastic filament. Since the printers and other tools are more complicated and dangerous, Lorelied said those who want to use them must be certified, although they will provide training at the library. Only youths ages 15 and older can use some of the specialized or certified equipment, essentially anything that "cuts, burns or is super-complicated," Lorelied said.
• A new tabletop kiln. While the kiln has the ability to create such items as coffee cups and other ceramic items, it can be used for glass fusing as well. "People are interested. I think they're a little intimidated," Lorelied said about the kiln.
• A new Glowforge, which is a water-cooled laser cutter that uses laser light to cut patterns into acrylic, leather and wood. A clock on display was created by using the Glowforge. "It's fast," said Lorelied. "It's really fascinating to watch."
• Two types of vinyl cutters for making decorations along with an assortment of tools for airbrushing, woodburning, soldering and leather decorating.
• A compact lightbox, a type of small photo studio is available. So too are sewing machines and sergers for work on fabrics.
Lorelied said that everyone can try at least some of the materials and learn on the machines for free.
"There are some costs associated beyond that," Lorelied said. "We try to limit them as much as possible."
For instance, Lorelied said, the library will allow patrons to use up to 40 grams of the filament that's used in the 3D printers for free. Above that amount, the library will charge 3 cents per gram.
Lorelied said the popularity of makerspaces in general have increased over the years.
"This is just a different way to draw people in that learn differently and create a community through that," Lorelied said.
At the same time, the library's mobile makerspace is in use and used for larger events. Lorelied said they will be going out into schools with a variety of makerspace STEM equipment once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
"I'm really looking forward to the amount of community this is going to build, because (we) already have somebody, for instance, who has blocked out their calendar for the rest of the year to come to our Sunday labs," Lorelied said.
Labs are set for two hours per day on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with starting times available through the library's website calendar.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.