Advanced tools, creative space may come to Lewisville Public Library

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The library's 10 different STEM kits are offered to children and families. They are containers that hold literature with corresponding tools to employ the knowledge being learned. Similarly, the library will offer maker kits through adult services for patrons to learn new skills. Virtual reality glasses is one of the test kits library director Carolyn Booker said will likely make the cut. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)

For those who have ever wanted to learn a new skill but didn’t want to go back to school, the Lewisville Public Library may soon have the answer.

The library is gathering ideas and kit-sized equipment over the next few months to implement a Lewisville makerspace, an area that provides tools and education to a community to encourage innovation.

“It’s the tool that allows people to make whatever they want and it allows for that open, inquisitive mind to just really grow,” said Nicole Franczvai, creative arts chair for the Dallas Makerspace and art teacher at Lewisville High School. “Because there’s no, ‘No.’ There’s no stopping. There’s no, ‘We can’t do this.’”

A few tools at the 6,000-square-foot Dallas Makerspace are 3-D printers, laser cutters, a two-post automotive lift, three soldering stations, a bench grinder and a freeze dryer. It holds classes that range from jewelry techniques to leatherworking basics to DIY aquaponics.

Library Director Carolyn Booker said at a council workshop that there will be a digital makerspace upstairs and an advanced dirty makerspace downstairs at the Lewisville Public Library. The digital area is software-based and would offer Adobe Photoshop as well as other advanced programs.

“We want to be a lifelong learning center, from the young, to the workforce, to senior citizens, to entrepreneurs,” Booker said. “We want to serve all types of people.”

Library employees are putting together maker kits for residents to check out. Staff members are currently checking out the finished kits and providing feedback. The library already has STEM kits circulating for families, Booker said.

“STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and our STEM kits are a grouping of materials that support a topic, so it might be astronomy, it might be nature,” she said. “The goal of the STEM kit is to give you a richer experience than just reading about it, it helps you put it into practical terms and actually play with the concept.”

STEM kits include reading material that may be accompanied by an activity sheet, a star chart or binoculars. They are available in the youth services area to cardholders.

Kelly Brouillard, adult services supervisor at the library, said the idea for the space was planted several years ago when a council member was interested in using a 3–D printer. The library staff started exploring having one.

“Maker is such a broad concept. It could be anything,” Brouillard said.

Brouillard said recording equipment and software would be useful tools in the space. She has seen customers come in and use the space to record audio in a study room or shoot a movie scene among the books. Once, a patron brought in his soundboard.

Various library staff members have visited surrounding makerspaces to get ideas. Within the next year, the library will gather feedback from residents, and staff will plan programming based on it.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of makerspaces across the world, Franczvai said. She said the library makerspace should create a collection of materials that allows people to openly explore ideas and concepts.

“Somebody could come in there with an idea and it can come to fruition,” Franczvai said.

Popular resources the library offers are e-books, digital magazines and audiobooks. The library now has advanced reservations for its two meeting rooms.

The Lewisville Public Library at 1197 W Main St. is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

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