Make it at a Makerspace!

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 9, 2017

By Amanda Bosch

Rowan Public Library defines a makerspace as “a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high-tech to no- tech tools.

These spaces are open to kids, adults and entrepreneurs and have a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, soldering irons and even sewing machines.

A makerspace, however, doesn’t need to include all of these machines or even any of them to be considered a makerspace.  If you have cardboard, Legos and art supplies, you’re in business.  It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a makerspace.

Makerspaces are becoming popular in libraries and schools across the state, and here in Rowan County. The Rowan Public Library has a new makerspace, the COOP (CoOperative Lab), that includes a 3D printer as well as other tech tools patrons can use to create and make their own projects.

While there is a cost to print items on the 3D printer, patrons can begin learning how to design and customize their own 3D items with free online resources.

Thingiverse ( is a good place to start. You can create a free account and search for any items that might be of interest. While some items have files you have to purchase before you can download and print them, many free resources are also available. A search for Wonder Woman brought back 52 items ranging from Wonder Woman bracelets, tiaras and even a 3D print of Wonder Woman herself.

Rowan Public Library also has books that can also help you get started with 3D printing. If you are searching for educational projects, you may want to check out “3D Printed Science Projects” by Joan Horvath. If you would like to learn to create your own inventions and discover how 3D printers work, then take a look at Terence O’Neill’s “3D Printing.” While it is written for juveniles, it is a great resource for those beginning to use makerspaces and 3D printers.

As you advance your 3D skills, another great resource is “Make: 3D Printing Projects’ by Brook Drumm. In this book, you can access “illustrated instructions for assembling a variety of 3D printing projects, including a modular lamp, a battery-operated screwdriver and a bubble-blowing robot,” the cover says.

For those who prefer to create and design practical items, a wonderful resource is “The Zombie Apocalypse Guide to 3D Printing: Designing and Printing Practical Objects” by Clifford T. Smyth. This book teaches readers to design and print items that won’t break when they are needed, print replacement parts, make things fit and get the most from the printer.

Makerspaces are not limited to being housed in a library or school and there is a maker movement to engage makers of all ages in Makerfaires that are held across the country. Make magazine has an online website that lists upcoming makerfaires across the country at and they have launched an online community for makers at where you can sign up for an account and collaborate with other makers from across the world. If you are looking for makers closer to home, Makerspace Charlotte schedules meetups in the Charlotte area with those interested who want to “Make. Learn. Share.” at

Come check out the COOP at Rowan Public Library to begin you Makerspace journey. You never know where it will lead.

Summer Reading Registration: There are three age categories: Children (newborns-rising fifth graders), Teens (rising sixth- to 12th-graders), and Adults (ages 18+). In addition to tracking reading hours, 2017 Summer Reading festivities include special programs and a variety of prizes. Contact your nearest branch for full details.

Preschool Time: Each program last 30-45 minutes. Doors close at 10:40 a.m.; 3- to 5-years-old. Through July 28. All at 10:30 a.m. — Headquarters, Tuesdays; East, Thursdays; and South, Mondays.

School age: Rising first- through fifth-graders; 45-60 minutes. Storytellers, educators and entertainers provide different programs each week for seven weeks. To enter the weekly prize drawing, “Reader Book Reviews” should be turned in before the program begins. Headquarters, Thursdays, 2 p.m.; East, Wednesdays, 2 p.m.; South, Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

Program schedule: July 10-14, Dan Nicholas Wildlife; July 17-21, Captain Jim; July 24-28, Lee Street theatre.

Cleveland: School-Age programs at Town Hall, 302 E. Main St., on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Patrons in Cleveland may report summer reading hours during the programs.

Teen Summer Reading: All at 3:30 p.m. Mondays, East Branch; Tuesdays at headquarters; Thursdays at South Rowan Regional. Teens receive booklets to keep track of points earned by reading, attending library programs and completing activity challenges. Points can go toward prizes at the end of summer.

Program schedule: July 10-13, Build a Better Bridge, complete the bridge and tower challenge; July 17-20, Mini Model United Nations, become an expert on a deadly zombie pandemic that threatens the world and stop the next outbreak; July 24-27, Quiz Bowl; July 28, National Teen Lock-in, 6:30-10:30 p.m. at library headquarters; permission slip required for teens to participate.

Adult Summer Reading: July 10, 6:30 p.m. Headquarters. Bee Supportive. Local beekeeper Marcel Renn address the importance of bees and what we can do to safeguard them.

Summer reading film series: July 10, 5:30 p.m. at East; July 11 at 6:30 p.m., and July 14 at 10 a.m., headquarters — “Dolphin Tale.” This rated PG film has a runtime of 112 min. Free, open to the public, all ages welcome;  an adult must accompany children under 9. Free popcorn and lemonade.

“The Blind Side,” South, July 12, 2 and 6 p.m. PG-13 film has a runtime of two hours and eight minutes. Free, open to the public, all ages welcome; an adult must accompany children under 13. Free popcorn and lemonade.

Genealogy class: Land and Taxes, headquarters, July 22, 10 a.m. Co-hosted by Genealogical Society of Rowan County and Edith M. Clark History Room, free, open to the public. Buying, sellin, and settling land leaves a trail that we can follow to find our lineage. This class explores land and tax records. For more information or to register, please contact Gretchen at or 704-216-8232 or visit

Displays: Headquarters, Piedmont Players Theatre and Bookend Art Sculpture by Wayne Gladden; East, Charles Whitley art; South, lunch box memorabilia by Sharon Ross.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.