First off, note that when you attend New Tech Seattle on Tuesday you’ll be helping our city and neighbors experiencing homelessness. 20% of our profits from this event will be donated to Pearl Jam’s Home Fund working with United Way of King County as we band together to fight homelessness.
So many of you wanted to learn more about the Bellevue Library IdeaX Makerspace after their New Tech Eastside presentation, that we interviewed them to tell us about it for you. Who knew how innovative our libraries are? Enjoy and make use of all your library has to offer you!
What is the Bellevue Library ideaX Makerspace and where did the idea come from?
The Bellevue Library ideaX Makerspace is the King County Library System‘s first in-library, dedicated creative hub. The space encourages creativity through art, design, coding, recording, and more through emerging technologies, traditional mediums and explores the space between.
The Makerspace offers access to a range of technology including: 3D Printer, 3D Pens, Arduino, Circuit Maker, Digital Recording Room, Laser Cutter, Ozobots, Sewing Machines, Stop Motion Animation, and VHS to DVD converter.
The Bellevue Library ideaX Makerspace emerged as an extension of the King County Library System’s ideaX program. IdeaX works to provide access to emerging technology and economic empowerment programming to help patrons navigate life’s complexities and biases, provide equitable avenues to build the skills and knowledge needed for success, and create collaborative programs to bridge differences and create communities of inclusion and belonging.
The idea of public libraries as communal creative and educational spaces is not a new one, inspiring an interest in life-long learning, technology, design and community building.
How are people using the space?
Bellevue Library patrons have been using their Makerspace to explore new technologies (like how the concepts of coding can be combined with objective design skills), create crafts while learning new skills (like sewing or painting), produce and record original songs & podcasts. Patrons have even been using our laser cutter to make labels for their P-Patch gardens.
What would you like the community to know about the space and how they can use it?
The space is by and for the community! The more people get involved, the more available activities will grow to reflect the interests of the space’s makers. Patrons can use the space to think, to make, to explore, to invest in new skills, to connect with fellow makers, teaching classes and sharing their expertise with other members of the community.
What is the most interesting, exciting or surprising thing that’s happened in the space since it opened?
Patrons have used our equipment to help in personal ways such as recording a message in Spanish to be used at a funeral and recording a poetry recitation. We’ve watched adults learn new skills like sewing and knitting.
Several young patrons have come back week after week to keep working on songs, 3Doodler necklaces, Rubik’s Cube solver robots, or smart-phone applications they are building. It’s so exciting to be present to learn about what kinds of things people can create when they have the space and time to explore.
What are your plans with the space in the coming year?
We will continue our programmatic focus on emerging technology, art/design/music, life skills, and economic empowerment and use them as a means to address on topics important to our community. We invite more community members to come innovate and build the equitable/inclusive Silicon Rainforest they want to live in!