Our family are frequent visitors to our local Cincinnati library branch (as our late fees can attest), and though we’ve been to the Main Library branch many times I wasn’t aware that they have a permanent makerspace on the second floor of the North Building. Conveniently located one floor up from the children’s library.
Actually, I wasn’t familiar with the makerspaces concept prior to our visit the Main Library’s MakerSpace. Makerspaces, as I’ve since learned, are places where people can come together to play, learn, and create utilizing the materials provided in the space.
We went into MakerSpace without any idea what we were getting into. Though we had a great time, in hindsight I wish I’d taken a moment to visit the MakerSpace homepage prior to visiting. Here you’ll learn what activities are available, links that describe the equipment used, the material prices (when applicable, and very reasonable), and allows you to reserve time at some of the more popular stations. I think you’ll get more out of your experience with a little planning, but even an impromptu visit is still a very good time.
As you can see from the website there’s a lot to do. I think the button making station is a great place to start. It’s easy for younger ones to tackle, but still enjoyable for older ones, and it gets everyone in the mood for what the MakerSpace experience is all about. Our girls (ages 5 and 8) spent the first hour designing and making buttons and magnets.
After we had pressed our last magnet our oldest made a bee-line to the recording booth where she spent time working professional recording equipment and software, and learning about the process by doing it. She picked up a love of singing from her mother and was really impressed that you could save and share your own MP3 (for free!).
The 3D printers are really cool, and I think our youngest could have spent an hour just watching filament methodically glide back and forth as the machine created a name plaque for one of the patrons. Though I did eventually convince her to pose for a picture that we then had engraved on wood at the laser engraving station. Which she found to be even more fun than 3D printing once she realized we were immortalizing her likeness in wood.
My experiences with library staff have always been very positive, and that holds true for those assisting in the MakerSpace. We had many, many questions and requests during our visit. Each and every person we asked for assistance was friendly and helpful. This made all of us more feel more comfortable and encouraged us to try even some of the more technically challenging stations.
Leaving the house that morning, I had anticipated spending a couple of hours at the library. So I was surprised when I realized that nearly four hours had gone by, and we had completely missed lunch. Honestly, if not for grumbling bellies we probably would have spent another couple of hours there. We only visited a few of the stations during our time there, and I’m looking forward to going back.
The MakerSpace is another example of what makes our Cincinnati Public Library system so special.
Jonathon Karysn Paasch is husband to an intelligent, generous, and creative spouse, and father to two caring, smart, and funny girls.
A Cincinnati transplant, Jonathon and his family are avid weekend explorers, particularly drawn to the plethora of amazing outdoor activities available in the tri-state area.
With a passion for photography, Jonathon rarely misses an opportunity to document and share the Paasch family adventures.