Library, RecPlex open tech-heavy ‘makerspace’ for residents

A new makerspace for innovation, learning and creativity is officially open in Washington Twp.

Creativity Commons, powered by Washington-Centerville Public Library and located within the Washington Twp. RecPlex, makes cutting-edge equipment and technology accessible to the community.

The equipment is available after brief training from a staffer and allows patrons to do everything from sewing, quilting and embroidering to button making, photography and creating items via 3D printers.

“We had somebody come in ... and he made his own chess pieces, his own chess set,” said library spokeswoman Shelby Quinlivan. “He came in and did one in silver and then came in the next day and did one in copper. It’s very cool. Your imagination can just go wild.”

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Use of the equipment is free, but a library card is required to use the space, and there is a charge for consumable materials. Appointments can be made one month in advance.

Walk-in appointments may be possible, but are not guaranteed. More information is available at www.wclibrary.info/makerspace.

The new offering complements a wide array of Maker Kits already in rotation at the library, including everything from astronomy, birding and calligraphy to knitting, robotics and video blogging. Patrons can also check out musical instruments.

“If you’re interested in that kind of a thing and you just want to try it out before you go and purchase a thousand-dollar-plus instrument, you can check out that through us,” Quinlivan said.

Children’s Maker Kits feature Magna Tiles, coding and a variety of other options, she said.

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Creativity Commons got its start a little more than a year ago when Liz Fultz, the library’s director, had a conversation with RecPlex Director Mark Metzger about the idea, Quinlivan said.

“We have had Maker Kits at the library since 2016, and they’ve been very popular, so we knew there was a momentum growing for this interest in MakerKits and creating things on your own,” she said. “It’s really kind of the DIY movement to the next level.”

Bill Menker, the library’s patron services manager, took care of researching and finding each piece of equipment, Quinlivan said.

“We obviously want to evolve with our community, and this is another offering that I think that will accomplish that,” she said.

The library has had some partnerships for programming before, but Creativity Commons is its largest one to date, she said. It’s part of a 2-year-agreement between the two entities allowing the library to lease part of the RecPlex.

“We’re really excited to be there,” Quinlivan said. “We fit a lot into that 800 square feet of space.”

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