Cornell University Library has just opened its newest facility in support of its mission as a vibrant university learning center. Located at Mann Library and outfitted with a host of hi- and lo-tech equipment, the new mannUfactory makerspace is a place where creative ideas come to life.
Makerspaces, broadly defined as community centers with tools for making things, are a growing phenomenon of the past decade. Why is this new? After all, people have been doing craftwork, making models, and taking on DIY building projects for ages. What’s different in today’s makerspace movement is the creation of community spaces where people can come and, working either alone or in groups, benefit from shared tools and technical knowledge to create objects and artifacts for specific needs. Makerspaces have also been hailed as a promising way to help schools and universities provide opportunities for student-centered education that promotes active literacy in the STEAM–science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics–fields. As facilities designed to promote active learning, makerspaces are a natural fit for library spaces.
The mannUfactory makerspace is open 2:00 to 7:00 pm Monday through Thursday when Cornell classes are in session. Trained staff are on hand to provide assistance with the facility’s equipment, which ranges from 3D and specialty plotter printers, a virtual reality room, and simple computing kits to soldering and hand tools, button makers, and sewing machines. Special consultations, classes or workshops, and tours can also be scheduled via the makerspace website at makerspace.library.cornell.edu. We welcome Cornell students, faculty and staff and off-campus visitors to come use the facility to create what they need—be it a 3D teaching model for course or extension instruction, an easily portable fabric-printed poster for that next conference, a prototype to advance a new design idea in any field, or just something simple, like fun buttons to promote an effective message.
We like to think of the mannUfactory as one more example of the ways that the Library helps Cornell faculty teach effectively and encourages Cornell students to develop new skills for success in the digital age. But we also think of it as a place to share some hands-on playing around with new ideas. “Everybody needs creativity. Everybody needs to experiment, and everybody needs to learn how to try and to fail,” said Camille Andrews, Mann Library’s emerging literacies librarian. “The makerspace introduces people to various tools and technologies they might not otherwise encounter.” We invite visitors to drop by and join in the tinkering fun.
Please join us for an opening celebration on Thursday, February 1, 2:30 to 4:00pm—we’re located in room 112 just off the Mann Library lobby. Food, fun making activities and a VR demo!
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