Although the Doucette Library serves the students of the Werklund School of Education, we librarians realize that there is a big world out there. Recently, three of us hopped in the car and drove up to Edmonton to see some unique educational spaces.
We started our tour at the Edmonton Public Library, Downtown Branch, where a significant makerspace has been installed on the main floor. This space is largely dedicated to the digital aspects of making, although there are plans for a large re-model and expansion of the space.
Dedicated gaming areas are comfortable and almost silent due to the plastic cone enclosures for the speaker system. Gamers do not have to wear headphones and the noise is directed at the player. All the stations were being used when we were there on a Monday afternoon.
Not one, but three, 3D printers are situated by the staff desk. Staff members are familiar with trouble-shooting all three printers. The printers are produced by a company in Edmonton so further trouble-shooting is only a phone call away. PC and Mac computers contain design software and staff can help clients with their creations.
Two sound rooms provide a location for podcasts, music recording, and practice. They are small but equipped to provide maximum sound proofing.
The Espresso Book Machine was producing a single volume work by a local author. In a matter of minutes, a copy complete with cover and glued binding is ready for the client to look at.
There is a green screen space that is often used by schools, photographers and filmmakers to produce excellent quality work.
Clients could be seen converting photographic slides from the ‘70’s to digital media that would not degrade as the slides were doing. Conversions can be done from VHS, CDs, photographs and slides.
This space is very well used. Staff is accommodating and very busy. School trips are booked solid for the foreseeable future and it is a popular drop in for all ages. Oh, and all the power outlets hung from the ceiling offering maximum power to everyone.
This is one well-used educational makerspace. And the fact that they will provide smaller maker areas for every branch in Edmonton means that Edmonton Public Library knows that making is the way of the present and the future. Go and visit sometime and see what possibilities are already in place.