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Schlow Maker Week Focused on Community, Technology, and Collaboration

by on August 23, 2015 6:00 AM

The word "library" has a reputation.

It's an old school place to take out some books.

A librarian is a stuck-up lady with her glasses balanced on the tip of her nose.

And the most advanced piece of technology inside the library is the VHS player used to play video tapes.

Right? Not if you ask Schlow Library, which will start its Maker Week on Monday to dispel that notion. Running from August 24 to 29, the event aims to bring community members together to collaborate and learn about new technology while, of course, making things.

"It’s a good way to show people that the library does a lot more than they might think," adult services librarian Amy Madison said. "Of course we have books and magazines and movies, but we’re very interested in technology. We have a lot of opportunities that we offer people to learn how to use iPads and lead them to different resources they might not otherwise know about."

As part of Maker Week, the library has a 3D printer on tap that they've already used to print out a Curiosity rover and a TARDIS. For the uninitiated, the first is a NASA rover currently exploring Mars, while the second is a phone booth/teleportation device from popular British sci-fi show Doctor Who.

Among a packed itinerary at the library  for Maker Week lie some unique opportunities, like the chance to get your head scanned by an Xbox Kinect and 3D-printed by the UPS Store on North Atherton Street on Thursday. 

The library wants to get people of all ages and knowledge levels thinking and learning together with Maker Week. One such interactive presentation is Tuesday's "Coding with Your Kids," which bring parents and children together to learn about coding to move robots, draw pictures, make computer games, and more.

"One of the main goals is to get people interested in this new kind of technology and also just making things and creativity," Madison said. "Especially those who think they wouldn’t understand it or aren’t good with technology because there are some simple and fun ways to get involved without having to know too much. We want to demonstrate what’s available but also have people come together and collaborate."

The library's interest in starting a Maker Week stemmed from the staff's itch to hop aboard the maker movement, which Madison said is a general interest in hands-on work coupled with collaboration and technological advancement.

"[The maker movement] kind of refers to a general movement that is interested in celebrating new technologies but also in creativity and sort of the timeless craft stuff that you think of like painting, knitting, and producing things," Madison said. "The maker movement uses community resources and space to come together and share them to make things and solve problems."

Maker Week will culminate on Saturday with five hours dedicated to exploring the reliving the week's creations. All Maker Week events are free and no pre-registration is required. 

Visit the Schlow Library's Maker Week website for a full list of the week's interactive talks, demos, camps, and more.



Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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