The library is rolling out new maker tools this year, including a 3D printer and six Arduino coding kits that kids, teens, and adults can start experimenting with in programs this spring. 

“We’re a community resource to help people learn new things, and we’re matching interest,” said Digital Learning Coordinator Deidre Winterhalter. “These programs give people a chance to see what these tools are like.” 

Meet the 3D printer

“I really like the 3D printer as a community commodity,” Winterhalter said. “It’s not affordable to buy one for your own house, but you can come to the library to see how it works and to see if you’re interested.” 

Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing adds layers upon layers of material to build three-dimensional objects from a digital file. The technique is used in fields including architecture, fashion, design, and medicine, printing objects as varied as musical instruments and houses

On a smaller scale, participants in library workshops this spring can create their own 3D designs using the free software Tinkercad. Because each item can take hours to print, participants' designs will be printed after class on the library's LulzBot Mini 3D printer, which builds objects by depositing layers of a PLA plant-based filament. Participants will be able to pick up their printed objects the following week. 

For teens and adults

  • Intro to 3D Printing, Tuesdays, March 14, May 2, 7–8 pm, Main Library Idea Box. Basic computer skills required. Register now >

For kids and families

  • GEMS Jr.: Meet the 3D Printer, Tuesday, April 4, 2–3 pm, Main Library Storytime Room. For girls in grades 2-4. Register now >
  • Homeschool Meet-Up: Meet the 3D Printer, Thursday, April 6, 12:30–1 pm, Main Library Children’s Study Room A. Designs can be picked up at the Children's Services desk at the following Homeschool Meet-Up.

Code with Arduino

“With our six Arduino kits, you can code for something as simple as turning the lights on and off, or you can design a smarthome,” Winterhalter said. “It depends on what you’re interested in and able to do.” 

  • Code with Arduino, Wednesday, April 12, 6:30–7:30 pm, Main Library Idea Box. Learn to control basic electronics using Arduino, an open-source platform. For teens and adults. No experience necessary. Register now >

Make your own beats

  • Beat Box, Saturdays, March 11, April 8, May 13, 12–2 pm, Main Library Idea Box. Learn the ins and outs of creating beats and electronic music! Make your own instruments and production tools in this hands-on monthly workshop. Build a midi controller, design sounds using synthesizers and samples from nature, compose and perform songs from scratch, and more. No experience necessary. Tools and supplies will be provided. For teens ages 12+ and adults.