“I decided that I needed green velvet for Thanksgiving,” Jones told Technical.ly. “I was reminiscing of the days when I used to get dressed up and go to grandma’s house.”
The serger, like a lot of the equipment at the Route 9 Library makerspace in New Castle, is a costly piece of equipment that’s out of reach for a lot of makers. Here, the machine, which finishes edges in sewing projects, is free to use, along with enough pieces of equipment to keep just about any maker busy.
The Maker Lab at Route 9 and now Appoquinimink libraries are hidden gems where people can use the labs’ equipment to make anything from fleece hats to product prototypes to fine art pieces. For makers like Jones who have found them, they’re practically a way of life.
“I’ve been here since it first opened in 2018,” Jones said. “I work down the street at the healthcare center, and the healthcare center was part of the grand opening celebration for the library. I came up one day after work. Then I realized they were open during my lunch break. I did an orientation and I would literally make my lunch hour to come into the lab to just kind of explore and do different things.”
She started with the Silhouette electronic cutting machine, a relatively simple and safe machine that can cut things like stickers and heat transfers, which are then hot pressed onto T-shirts and handmade tote bags.
Some of the things Jones makes she sells in an online shop called Kiwuan Krafts. Some are gifts for family. Some are things she makes just because she loves making things.
If anyone spends more time in the makerspace than Jones, it’s Jess Glassco, director of the Maker Lab. Glassco led an orientation on a sunny Friday morning, showing a group of nine (this reporter included) around the space. The laser cutter is temporarily down, which is bad timing with the holidays upon us, but there are two computerized routers — the woodworking tool, not the Wi-Fi equipment — that can do all kinds of carving and cutting projects.
During the pandemic, Glassco spent days in the makerspace all by herself (aside from the library’s security) using the 3D printers to make PPE. Now, the 3D printers build vases, game pieces and product ideas.
There’s soldering, electronics, sewing machines, a heat press, a light box and a mat cutter. Soon, Glassco said, there will be an embroidery machine, by popular request.
The media lab wall is lined with guitars and microphones. Members can record or edit music and record podcasts. There’s even a green screen corner of the makerspace where people can use the special effect in video projects.
And yes, it’s really all free with your library card — which is also free, of course. After the orientation, makers can reserve time on a spreadsheet. The first hour for most of the equipment is a certification, where you use the equipment to make a simple project. The exception is the media lab, which only requires orientation.
Upcoming workshops at the Maker Lab, with no orientation needed, include a picture framing clinic and a Silhouette “stained glass” card workshop. The Maker Lab is also where Jane Singer’s Sewing Meetup happens.
To schedule yourself for a makerspace orientation, fill out the survey and sign the Maker Lab agreement, and you will receive an invitation when the next orientations are scheduled. (Minors will need a guardian to fill out the form.)
“The library team at Route 9 are absolutely amazing,” Jones said. “They’re friendly. They’re helpful. It’s a family here.”
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