Library mobile makerspace to debut this week

Christine Stephenson/The Herald
The Jasper Public Library will show off its new mobile makerspace at the Downtown Chowdown Wednesday. The makerspace provides STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — activities to the public.


JASPER — As summer nears, a mobile makerspace van with the Jasper Public Library will be popping up at several upcoming events.

The mobile makerspace, which will make its first event appearance at the Downtown Chowdown this Wednesday, provides STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — activities to the public. Activities featuring snap circuits, Makedo toolkits, Makey Makey invention kits, 3D and laser printers, and a wireless hotspot will be available to the county.

“I want to make sure no one ever sees this as just a Jasper project, this is a countywide project for us,” Library Director Christine Golden said.

Although the makerspace’s Downtown Chowdown appearance won’t feature any activities — it’ll be more of a meet and greet, Golden said — its first stop will be at Ireland Elementary School Thursday. Golden said the library also plans to have the makerspace at the June 5 Chalk Walk and later the Dubois County 4-H fair and Strassenfest.

One activity Golden anticipates to be especially popular will be the opportunity for kids to make their own bubbles.

“We’re going to try to have events where it becomes not just a playtime but also an educational opportunity,” she said. “We’re not here by any means to replace any type of STEM activities that are already happening in the schools or communities. This is just to supplement it.”

Golden said the library will plan more activities as it learns what each community within the county needs. The makerspace will also have features for adults, such as mobile library card signups, and potential events such as job resume building.

The makerspace has been in the works since the library received a $120,000 Ready Communities Implementation grant from Regional Opportunity Initiatives in 2019 and a 10% matching grant from the Dubois County Community Foundation. Golden said that after attending a conference a few years ago and speaking with librarians from the Los Angeles Public Library, she learned the makerspaces are common in other parts of the country but would be especially beneficial to Dubois County.

The mobility of the service can be beneficial to rural communities where some may have difficulty accessing internet or transportation.

“We’re able to bring something that is unique to Southern Indiana with the idea that maybe other organizations will want to start getting involved, as well,” Golden said. “We want to be doing more outreach and making sure we’re not just doing it inside our four walls.”

For those interested in learning more about the makerspace, Golden said to keep an eye on the Jasper Public Library website for future events or just stop by the library to check it out.

“We’re definitely seeing the interest there,” she said. “Anything out of the ordinary, I think, is what people just get so excited about.”

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