Writer Jorge Luis Borges once wrote that he imagined “paradise will be a kind of a library,” and here in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake this is certainly the case.
From books, to programs, amazing facilities, online and community resources, free WiFi, a community garden and more – there remain few civic institutions quite like a public library.
Yet with our increasingly connected society, there is now also a distinct need for more tech support, education on new technology, and help in creating amazing, one-of-a-kind projects. Indeed, all of these needs are met under the library’s roof at the veritable creative paradise of the Makery.
I’m Megan Honsberger, the Makerspace facilitator at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library, and the Makery is our in-house makerspace. Makerspaces, an incredibly recent phenomenon of the mid-aughts, seek to provide community-centred workspaces and access to cutting-edge technological tools in a do-it-yourself, collaborative environment. Globally, many libraries and schools have adapted to this model to offer services beyond ‘just’ books, and we’re happy to be one of them.
Library patrons who would like to learn more about our machines can email me for more information and/or to book a 60 to 90-minute appointment. In these appointments, you can expect hands-on instruction through the process of making a project come to life. We have textile machines (sewing and machine embroidery), a 3D printer, C02 laser, Cricut (computer-controlled cutting machine), Cricut heat press, Cricut mug press, as well as archival services like VHS to USB/DVD, and a photo digitizer.
All appointments are free, but patrons must supply their own materials. I’m always happy to learn more about a project to help solidify an effective design process and best-recommend any supplies that are needed.
When not in appointments, the rest of my time goes into planning and delivering Makery programming. We have a lot of really wonderful things coming up for the remainder of 2022.
I love to blend science and nature in programs whenever I can for an experience that provides several facets of making and learning. Our Leaf Workshop for kids seven to 12 in the fall will do just that, engaging kids in learning about local leaves, and using them to make art as well as science. Similarly, in December, I’ll be leading a workshop for kids to learn how a C02 laser works while they decorate a puzzle that was cut and made from the machine. For me, it’s vital that kids be as well-versed in making things, using their hands, and identifying the world around them as it is that they are exposed to new technology.
It’s also important to my role that any making be paired with ways to reduce overall waste in the process whenever possible. For our Sustainability Workshop Series this fall, we’re offering two workshops for adults: making reusable container labels with the Cricut and Glowforge (3D laser printer) as well as making beeswax wraps. I’m excited for the beeswax wraps workshop in particular, as it features a local farmstead whose own bees, materials, and experience will be highlighted. Creating local partnerships wherever possible is important, as it serves as yet another way the library connects with others right in our community.
What is maybe unexpected for a library that I’m stoked to be helping to plan is our programming for teens, where we’ll offer several unique experiences alongside cool projects from our machines that are tailored especially to teens across the region. These events, called Teen Takeovers, will be offered monthly on Thursday evenings. We’ll kick things off on Oct. 20 with an outdoor screening of something spooky, and enjoy s’mores and ghost stories by candlelight (along with pizza and snacks).
Speaking of unexpected services, we’ll be launching our tool lending library in the fall, where library patrons are able to check out various tools to complete projects at home. More details will be available on our website. Some items available include hammers, saws, drills and sockets. More details are available at the library.
We’ll also have a set of Cricut Joys to lend out in the fall, so folks can tackle all sorts of vinyl, fabric, wood, and paper projects in the comfort of their own home. Further in the spirit of DIY, our popular Repair Cafe will be making its return on Saturday, Oct. 1, when customers can bring in broken electronics and items to be serviced by technicians volunteering from our community. We are always looking to recruit new volunteers that are skilled in electronics, soldering, sewing and rewiring, who can help other community members repair household items. Volunteers interested in participating in upcoming Repair Cafe events can forward their contact information to the library at email@example.com.
Outside of all that, this fall will see basic digital literacy group classes for adults and seniors that cover smartphones, tablets, using the web and basic photo/video skills with a device.
In addition, I’ll be running a one-off presentation on Navigating Screentime for all members of the family on Sept. 20. These topics are especially dear to me, as they echo findings and research I encountered during my Master’s degree, which looked at how technology has changed the ways in which we think, interact and behave.
Registration is required for many of our programs, and spaces are limited, so make sure you register if you are planning on attending. More info about this and all of our fall programs can be found on our website.
Finally, but perhaps most relevantly, I’m running our Makery Open House on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. It’s a drop-in event, so no registration is required. We’ll be showcasing some of our machines, providing family-friendly things to tinker and play with, as well as offering a take-home craft and light refreshments. I’m excited for this opportunity to meet and greet the community as we enter a vibrant, plugged-in, magical fall of things Made @ Makery.
For more information or to make an appointment call 905-468-2023 or visit https://notlpubliclibrary.org