Library’s Maker Lab a hit during its first year

Space fosters creativity, innovation, hands-on learning.

TROY – The Maker Lab operated by the Troy-Miami County Public Library was a hit during its first year.

The Maker Lab opened in early 2023 as a space dedicated to fostering creativity, innovation and hands-on learning. The lab is located on the second floor of the Hobart Center for County Government, 510 W. Water St., Troy. The space is leased from Miami County.

“This the only space of its kind within a 40-mile radius of here,” said Rachelle Via, executive director of the Troy-Miami County Public Library, which operates the Maker Lab. She provided an update on the lab and its progress to the county commission along with Elijah Stephens, lab manager.

The facility also offers laptops with design software, meeting rooms for organizations, an audio recording room and a media conversion room, Stephens said.

Last year, 18,473 visitors were counted at the lab along with 1,988 equipment uses.

This year, programming is underway with offerings such as a Breakerspace devoted to taking things apart for fun. Participants can dissect nonfunctional machines, electronics and/or everyday objects to explore how these items work. The program is for students in grades three-five and six-12. Another program is Intro to Soldering, where participants create a project. This program is for teens (grades six-12) and adults.

A large percentage of the Maker Lab construction and all of the equipment was funded by a bequest from Ada Pressman who grew up in Troy. Pressman was a mechanical engineer who began her career at Bechtel in 1955 as a power control systems engineer. By the end of her career, she managed 18 design teams for more than 20 power-generating plants globally and specialized in developing emergency safety systems for fossil-fired and nuclear power plants.

Those interested in using the Maker Lab need to have a library card, which can be obtained on site. The lab has attracted people from the Columbus, Cincinnati and Celina areas, among others.

Other visitors want to learn more about the space and how they might be able to create a lab for their location, Stephens said.

“The most compliments we get are about the staff. They are really good at managing expectations and telling people this is a learning space and it will take you a minute to figure this out. Once they do …. We have a lot of repeat business people, organizations and crafters, too,” Via said.

Via and Stephens showed commissioners various items made at the lab, including a cardboard 3D dragon and various logos. A number of organizations have made their own mugs. The mugs are purchased at the lab to ensure it is appropriate for the equipment available. There is no admission charged to the lab with users paying a fee for consumables.

Among other machines available are 3D Scanner, Button Makers, CNC Milling, CNC Router, Electronic Cutter, Embroidery Machine, Laser Cutter and Engraver, Soldering Station, UV Printer and Vinyl Printer.

More information on the Maker Lab is available at the library’s website at or by calling 937-703-4275.

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