Fontana Regional Library has announced the creation of the FRL MakerTools collection, a new project to support the development of science, technology, engineering, art, and math creativity. The collection makes a variety of creative and do-it-yourself tools and technologies available to the residents of Macon, Jackson, and Swain counties and is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Although some schools and colleges in the region offer high- tech “makerspaces” with the latest computer and electronic technologies, the general public usually does not have access to these tools. As a way to bridge this technology divide and increase public access to a variety of creative technologies, Fontana Regional Library has created a “MakerTools” collection featuring tools, technology, and instruction for all ages. The project includes emerging technologies, such as 3-D printing, coding, robotics, and digital art and media, as well as “old-tech” such as fiber and fabric arts. Overall, the “MakerTools” program is designed to support artistic expression, lifelong learning, and entrepreneurial development in the community.
Different library locations have different technologies available, but all kits come with the tools necessary to experiment and create a project of your own. Some items are available for checkout, and others are designed to be used by patrons inside the library. For example, at many FRL locations, patrons can bring in home movies on VHS tape or film and use a media conversion station to transfer their memories to DVD or other digital format. Audio conversion stations work in a similar way, and patrons can bring cassette tapes or vinyl albums to transfer to CD or MP3. At some library locations, patrons also have access to 3D printers with design software, sewing /embroidery machines and sergers, a large-format printer (for patterns or blueprints), a vinyl cutter, digital art design software, and podcasting equipment.
For home use, patrons can check out kits for knitting and crochet, latch hooking and tatting, needlework and embroidery, quilting, and more. There is even a studio lighting kit available for photographing crafts or other creative projects. A variety of electronics, coding, robotics, and building tools are featured in hands-on library activities for children and teens.
A series of demonstration events are being scheduled at member libraries, so look for news from the location nearest you, or call for more information. To see what’s available for check-out, search “MakerTools” in the library catalog, found at www.fontanalib.org.
3D Doodler pens (for children)
Large format printer
Latch hook and tatting kits
Knitting and crochet kits
Sewing and embroidery machines
Memory lab equipment for video and audio transfer
Robotics and building kits for children (Strawbees, MagnaTiles, K’NEX, Bloxels, Dash and Dot and BlueBots Robots, LittleBits snap-together circuits, Makey Makeys, Keva Planks, Quibits )
Arduino project kits
Raspberry Pi kits
Studio lighting kit for photography/video
Digital art frames and design software
For more information, call the library at (828)524-3600. The Macon County Public Library is located at 149 Siler Farm Road, Franklin.