The Redwood City Library opened a new “Makerspace” Dec. 2 for an advance preview of an area where users will get hands-on instruction in learning new skills and creating things, from sewing and knitting to using 3D printers.
Partially funded with a $270,000 Library Foundation grant, the library’s newest service occupies 1,000 square feet of an area once used as a computer lab, which no longer needs as much space, according to Library Director Derek Wolfgram. He anticipates that it could be open to the public in January, largely dependent on developments involving the pandemic.
In addition to arts and crafts and gardening supplies, among the many work station amenities are a laser cutter, digital design and modeling software, as well as a video conferencing/audio space.
Much of the inspiration for creating the new space goes to Sarah La Torra, the library’s division manager of customer experience, based on her years working with teens. The space will host a variety of programs and activities including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, or STEAM; workshops for youth during and after school hours, as well as drop-in hours for adults. With its reconfigurable workshop tables, seating, white boards and monitors, the Makerspace has a lot of flexibility to allow for a wide range of ages, interests and activities.
The preview night included a live demonstration of a Tesla coil in front of the library on Middlefield Road, which set off a loud and dramatic lightning-like display.