Northwest Regional Coordinator Kimberly Brown-Harden recently had a conversation with Automation and Serials Manager Rhonda Mullin from the Westchester Public Library in Chesterton, Indiana. They discussed Westchester’s innovative MakerSpace Lab and the impact it is having on both patrons and the library.
Kim: Can you give me some background on how the program was created?
Rhonda: Our library prides itself in offering the latest technology to our patrons. Because of this we saw a need to introduce 3D printing as well as a MakerSpace Lab. Unfortunately, space is very limited within our library. We did some serious brainstorming and decided to create space within an existing space. So we literally created our MakerSpace Lab within the space of another room. We hired a contractor who constructed an interior wall with a sound barrier, cut in a door frame and door, installed a peek window and trimmed it out. From there we outfitted the room with equipment and supplies.
Kim: How much did the program cost?
Rhonda: The contractor cost was $8,300. The cost to outfit the room with two 3D Printers (Type A Pro Machine and MakerGear M2), filament inventory, a Matter & Form 3D scanner, worktables, work stools, storage cabinet, as well as miscellaneous tools and supplies was $9,400.
Kim: How many staff members are needed for this services?
Rhonda: One full-time staff member is always on hand. We also have two other full-time staff members available on an ‘as needed’ basis.
Kim: What do you wish you had known before starting this project?
Rhonda: Extensive research was conducted prior to spending one dime on this project. I can’t really think of anything that we wished we had known prior to commencing on this journey.
Rhonda: Situating our MakerSpace Lab within footsteps of our computer classroom and Tech Help area was a win-win for us. Patrons are constantly exposed to the various technology-related services we offer on a daily basis. The MakerSpace Lab itself has been warmly embraced by our patrons as well as our staff.
Kim: Do you think this program could be reproduced at other libraries?
Kim: How would librarians reach you if they want additional information about your program?
Rhonda: They can email me at Rhonda@wpl.lib.in.us.
This blog post was written by Kimberly Brown-Harden, Professional Development Librarian. For more information, contact the Professional Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.