When people imagine the typical services a library offers, they probably think of summer reading programs, printing services or movie nights for the public; but the Ignacio Community Library is taking its offerings a step further to become a hub for both children and adults to learn skills they can apply to their everyday lives through hands-on learning.
Residents looking to keep their kids busy or wanting to build upon their own knowledge, might find the Idea Lab and Makerspace right for them.
The library has two programs available called the Idea Lab and the Makerspace, both of which offer patrons free access to a wide-range of equipment and programming to allow them the ability to work on their own projects or to pick up a new skill through hands-on learning in the Makerspace.
The Idea Lab is more focused on media services such as digitizing old VHS tapes along with audio and video recording/editing services, said Hannah Horman, youth services specialist with Ignacio Community Library.
Community members of all ages are welcome to try their hand at one of the many activities available.
“Even things that people might mistake for being youth activities, adults can participate in,” said Ron Schermacher, a service desk manager who runs the programs.
Horman said that while the Idea Lab works as a media center, the Makerspace focuses more on STEM-based learning.
The programs seek to share the task of education with the local school system but are designed to change the model by which students learn.
“That’s what I think the whole Maker program is about,” Schermacher said. “It’s introducing learning to kids in ways that are unique and exciting to them.”
Schermacher has worked to create a variety of activities, including 3D printing, during which participants learn not only how to run the machine but also the process behind the magic. He takes people through the steps of how it works, which allows the skill to be applied to other fields as well.
He says the same ideas being taught through 3D printing can be applied to other machining, which gives participants a skill they can use in the future.
Ignacio Community Library has a wide range of offerings available through the Idea Lab, including: audio editing, E-cards, 3D printing and video editing.
The programs not only offer children and adults a fun learning activity to participate in, but also gives Schermacher an opportunity to fill the gaps in learning.
Schermacher said the really interesting part is teaching people the fine motor skills needed to complete the tasks.
He recounts how he sometimes has to review tasks he assumed were still taught in schools, such as using scissors, before he can continue with his planned programming.
“I kind of think everybody should be adopting this model these days,” Schermacher said. “They just come down here to participate on their own volition after having been forced to go to school all day.”
The Idea Lab, which sees a monthly attendance that averages 10 to 12 patrons, generally sees more adults than children while the Makerspace sees more children generally, with attendance numbers reaching 25 participants, according to self-collected data provided by the library.
“You know, I was a river and tour guide, but I still think this is some of the most fun work I’ve ever done,” Schermacher said.
Patrons can participate in the Idea Lab on a walk-in basis or stop by the Makerspace for programming with a staff member from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays or from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.