5 library makerspaces where you can create, craft and explore
A makerspace is an area intended to help its users express their creativity by crafting, building and designing whatever they can imagine. Typical amenities include 3-D printers that can create useful items out of plastic, cameras and microphones that can be used for creating videos or podcasts, computers with design and editing software, and even more mundane implements of creation such as art supplies and sewing machines. Makerspaces are becoming an increasingly frequent sight at public libraries, giving patrons a chance to use equipment they may not have the resources, space or opportunity to own themselves.
Here are five makerspaces offered at suburban libraries. Some require reservations and 3-D print jobs usually need to be submitted in advance, so call ahead or go to their websites before a visit. Users may need to purchase materials for printing and fabrication jobs.
Aurora: The Makerspace at the Aurora Public Library's Santori Library, 101 S. River St., Aurora. Includes computer workstations, 3-D printer, banner and poster printer, vinyl cutter that can be used to make vinyl decals, laser cutter for engraving, and a laminator. Visit www.aurorapubliclibrary.org/makerspace-guidelines-3 or call (630) 264-4101.
Elmhurst: The Makery at the Elmhurst Public Library, 125 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Features include a 3-D printer; a Carvey machine, which can shape items from wood, metal and more; machines for cutting vinyl, paper, leather and more; a laser cutter; knitting, sewing and embroidery machines; an embossing machine; laminator; T-shirt press; soldering equipment; carpentry tools and more. Visit elmhurstpubliclibrary.org/about-us/building-information/makerspace or call (630) 279-8696.
Lake Zurich: Forge at the Ela Area Public Library, 275 Mohawk Trail, Lake Zurich. Offers a 3-D printer, vinyl cutter, sewing machine, iMac computers, and kits such as sewing supplies, Lego Mindstorms robotics, jewelry making tools and others. Users can also sign up to be trained in using the equipment or take part in crafting events. Visit www.eapl.org/forge or call (847) 438-3433.
Naperville: The Idea Lab and Tech Buffet at the Naperville Public Library's 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive, Naperville. Offers a 3-D printer, book binding machine, scanners including photo and 3-D models, green screen, laminator, microphones, paper and vinyl cutter, VHS/DVD converter and more. Visit www.naperville-lib.org/research/computers-technology or call (630) 961-4100, ext. 4990.
Wheeling: The Launch Pad at the Indian Trails Public Library, 355 Schoenbeck Road, Wheeling. Features include a 3-D printer, a laser cutter for engraving, vinyl printing and cutting, sewing machines and looms, crafting materials such as knitting supplies and jewelry tools, Lego Mindstorms robotics kits, a digital media lab with cameras and microphones, editing software and more. Visit www.indiantrailslibrary.org/useyourlibrary/makerspace.html or call (847) 279-2277
Other libraries constructing makerspaces include the Algonquin Area Library District's Harnish Library and the Grayslake Area Public Library. Check your local library to find out what services it offers.