Brunch at the Brain Box

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CONFERENCE: Library Technology Conference

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Telschow, Michele; Connolly, Sarah
article description
In the Summer of 2015, Ramsey County Library's Maplewood branch introduced its new Maker space called The Brain Box. Located in the northern section of the teen area, it has primarily been used for teen programming. However, we recognized an interest in Maker spaces and their technologies among adults as well as a lack of adult Maker space programming in the Twin Cities metro. In collaboration with the teen librarian at Maplewood Library, we developed open lab programming for adults so they can have access to the same training and resources as the teens. Since adults learn more effectively in a structured environment and Maker spaces emphasize tinkering and co-learning, we adopted a weekly open lab format with a theme project or tool. Patrons are free to work on their own projects and learn from each other, but the option to work on a pre-planned project with our assistance is available for those new to the technologies in The Brain Box. We will discuss this model's success in terms of how adults actually used the space, whether the space and its tools were able to accommodate the adults' needs, and how many patrons participated in the program. We will also highlight projects and tools that worked well and those that did not. The Brain Box includes: Two 3D printers Two Silhouette vinyl cutters An EggBot Two sewing machines A large selection of craft supplies The software available on laptops and iPads includes: SketchUp Sculptris Stencyl Adobe Premiere