Creativity, curiosity and collaboration are all words that come to mind for Jordan Green when she thinks of her workplace.
Green, the science and technology librarian at Kenan Science Library, is in charge of the on-site makerspace housed on the first floor of Venable Hall. Along with other colleagues, Green also helped to revamp the Makerspace following pandemic restrictions.
Makerspaces are not only a physical space for creative projects, Green said, but they are also a support system for students with creative tools and expertise. Makerspaces have become increasingly popular in libraries over the years for both educational and recreational purposes.
There are multiple makerspaces around campus, including locations at Murray Hall, Hanes Art Center, and Carmichael Hall. The KSL Makerspace works in collaboration with the Be A Maker (BeAM) Network, an on-campus organization that encourages students to tap into their creative side as “makers.”
This semester, the space is also hosting staff-led workshops coined “Crafting Tuesdays.” The workshops include various activities, skills and crafts, ranging from bookbinding to 3D printing.
Jane Antonas, a sophomore and student assistant at KSL, said many students are unaware of makerspace resources. She said this lack of knowledge is what inspired KSL employees to hold more structured events.
The launch of the KSL Seed Library last March was the first of these types of events, said Therese Triumph, the head of science academic and research engagement at KSL. The Seed Library is a collection of seeds housed at KSL that students can use in their gardens.
The goal of the Seed Library is to educate people on gardening and plants, while also maintaining a continuous cycle of seeds. Returning users of the library are encouraged to bring back harvested seeds to contribute to this community resource.
Triumph said the workshops at the KSL – and other libraries on campus – are meant to reflect each library's individual focus.
“It felt like kind of a three-fold thing,” Green said. “They were taking away the skills that they learned in the workshop, and also taking away an introduction to this new library resource that maybe they hadn’t visited before, and also introductions to a community of people facilitated by that workshop that were interested in the same sorts of crafting, making, and creative skills.”
Triumph said the workshops put on by the leaders of these makerspaces are contributing to libraries’ commitment to introducing students to new things.
“I hope that it’s welcoming, we’re helpful, and you feel like you belong here,” she said.
Antonas was asked to design a workshop for "Crafting Tuesdays." After a summer of brainstorming, Antonas decided to teach sewing lessons because she was excited to pass on a helpful skill her mother taught her.
Antonas, an environmental studies major, hopes to incorporate themes of sustainability and upcycling into future workshops.
“We’re interested in looking at ways that people can learn these sewing skills while also making a difference environmentally and maybe promoting less waste which is always fun to do with college students because it is a money saver as well,” she said.
Her sewing class will be the first workshop of this semester and will be on Feb. 7 at KSL.
Students can expect a variety of other unique artistic opportunities in upcoming “Crafting Tuesdays." More information can be found on the KSL website.
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