The Mammen Family Public Library is pleased to offer a Makerspace with tools available as part of our Rolling DIY grant. Do you need more information? You’re in the right place. Do these terms confuse you? You’re still in the right place!

If you have a general question about our program or equipment, send an email to maker@mfplibrary.org.

What is “Makerspace”?

Our Makerspace program is a place where we can offer patrons the use of equipment and software to design and create items for personal use. Do you want to make your own stickers? Do you want to etch a design into your favorite coffee mug? Do you just want to learn how to use a quadcopter drone before you decide what to buy? You have a chance to do these things and much more at our Makerspace.

For many people in our area, the equipment or software can be:

  • prohibitively expensive
  • challenging to learn
  • frustrating to get started on your own
  • impractical to own
  • unavailable for rent or trial

The goal of our Makerspace is to offer community members access to equipment and software that encourages creativity, problem solving, and collaboration. We want participants to learn that:

  • “Success” can be one of several “right” answers.
  • Mistakes can teach you how to do better.
  • Ignorance is the place where we all start.
  • Failure is nothing to fear as long as you understand it.
  • Working with others can teach you the skills of “how” to learn.
  • Playing and tinkering is actually a disguise for learning.

If you have encountered any of the obstacles mentioned here, then drop by our Makerspace to see what we have available and learn from people that have experience -- and others that don’t.

Warning: Creating is an addictive activity.

What is “Rolling DIY”?

We have applied for and received a competitive grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. This grant has provided us with funds for two years.

TSLAC identified the needs of Texans in the 2019-2022 LSTA 5-Year Plan after consultation with the Governor:

  • Digital Inclusion – All Texans and Texas communities need access to internet connected resources and services and support to use the resources and services to meet individual and community needs.
  • Literacy and Educational Attainment – Texans of all ages need access to resources and services that promote and enhance literacy and further formal and informal learning.
  • Workforce and Economic Development – Texans need access to resources and services for workforce development in order to prosper and enhance the economic development of their communities.

Our Rolling DIY program addresses these needs with the following goals:

  • Texans will have access to shared library resources to meet their educational and informational needs.
  • Texans and Texas communities will have access to internet connected resources and services through Texas libraries to meet community and personal goals and the support needed to use the resources and services successfully.
  • Texans will have access to library services that support literacy and educational attainment, especially early childhood and family literacy, digital literacy, and lifelong learning.
  • Texans will enhance their workforce readiness, including business and entrepreneurial endeavors, through use of materials and services at their libraries.
  • Texans will receive library services that effectively respond to community needs.

Six libraries in the region are participants in the Rolling DIY program:

Each of these libraries is united by some common obstacles that have inhibited us in the past from offering our communities a makerspace or DIY environment:

  • Lack of physical space to dedicate to a lot of equipment or storing equipment that may not be used regularly
  • Uncertainty of what equipment might interest our communities
  • Lack of funding to purchase more expensive equipment and therefore settling for equipment that may not meet the needs of our communities
  • Lack of time and staff to dedicate to planning and training

Purchases under this grant are divided into “laboratories” that have a common subject or theme. You can navigate through these labs using the link at the top of the page or see an overview here.

The laboratories are each on a rotating (or “rolling”) schedule about once per quarter. The equipment and software is available for activities during a quarter when the library has requested it.

What “laboratory” is currently available?

Our equipment is split into twelve "laboratories" that focus on a particular set of projects, such as robotics versus sewing. You can browse through our labs by clicking the link at the top or by starting here.

Some of the equipment and software is located at Mammen Family Public Library permanently while the rest is available when it's a library's turn in the Rolling DIY schedule. The large printer/cutter will always be at MFPL simply because it is much too large to move around.

However, as the recipient of the grant, MFPL is the primary manager of equipment and software. We have twelve laboratories shared among six libraries in the program. Whenever a laboratory has not been requested by a library during the quarter, it will reside at MFPL.

How can I get involved?

Each library manages its own laboratory during its rotation in the Rolling DIY program. Each library may have its own policies about registering for classes or walking in during open times. At Mammen Family Public Library, for example, we recommend two tiers: learn the basics in an introductory class, and then practice under nominal supervision during our “Open Makerspace” hours. You can find these times on our library calendar and you can click on a Makerspace class to register.

Some training material and suggestions are sent out with each laboratory to help staff members learn how to use the equipment and software. However, each library would love to have volunteers (or training) if you find that your library is hosting something that appeals to your knowledge and experience.