TRENDS Diary: Library Maker Space Fosters Self-Sufficiency

Zack Weaver models his maker space creation.

Dear TRENDS Diary,

It’s been a dream of mine, for a long time, to be able to share my passion and joy for making things and its ability to turn nearly every problem into something any of us might solve.
I’ve tried a lot of different places and different types of organizations. Honestly, libraries are where it’s at.
Think about it. The need to invent, design, repair and create objects for better living is as fundamentally pervasive as language in our lives.

The library has always been about free access to language. We’re expanding those languages to include the creative action of making things for our world, rather than being limited to consuming them. Being a Creative Technologist enables me to share my fluency in that language with others, for free!

We make our community more self-sufficient. That has never been more critical than during the pandemic. BLDG 61 Maker Space at the downtown Boulder Public Library has fostered nearly 70 small businesses with prototyping and micro-production. Those are personal economies being generated.
We’re loaning out basic equipment like sewing machines to mend clothing and 3D-printing repair parts for home appliances. This is the economic right to repair rather than consume and landfill.

There are many things about maker culture we want people to know as soon as they walk in the door. The biggest one addresses ‘who is making for’. Our simple answer is that everyone is welcome in our community.
The shop is always organized and clean. It’s our way of saying, this space is safe, even if you don’t know a lot about the tools and process.

Something not everyone sees are the multiple accessibility tools we have. We can be for everyone by fostering a maker culture as fun, different, and diverse as all the makers. All. The. Makers!

– Zack Weaver, as told to Will Betke-Brunswick

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TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.