The Library Makerspace officially launches
New library hub is open for creative innovation.
The Library Makerspace was officially launched as a new innovative space within the Edward Boyle Library at the University of Leeds.
Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation and Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education joined invited guests to attend the official opening.
“The Library Makerspace is part of a network with other makerspaces on campus and is a fundamental part of helping our students prepare themselves for the world they're going to face as soon as they leave us,” says Professor Jeffrey Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education.
“They're going to enter a world in which they have to use digital technologies and apply what they're learning in the classroom to what the world needs from them. The Library Makerspace is an application domain in which they take what they learn in the classroom – computer programming, design skills, communication skills – put it to use, and hopefully make lots of mistakes as they do so. Mistakes, playing, and practicing are fundamental to learning, and play and practice produce great things in the world.”
Designed for visitors to ‘make, experiment and learn’, the Library Makerspace offers the latest tools and equipment for fabrication, laser cutting, electronics, digital creativity and craft. Students and staff can develop their creative skills and receive technical support on personal, work and degree-related projects.
Inspired by the University of Leeds Libraries Vision for 2030, the Library Makerspace forms one of many educational spaces that empower students and staff to think and experiment innovatively.
“The Library Makerspace opens up opportunities for creative exploration and disruptive thinking in a welcoming and supported innovation space at the heart of the campus”, says Masud Khokhar, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection.
“By providing equipment, that otherwise might be too expensive for individuals to access, we aim to open up and inspire experimentation amongst our student and staff community. Learning by doing is one more way that the Libraries support the creation of new knowledge and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the inventions and creative items that will be produced here.”
Following the soft launch earlier in the year, the Library Makerspace has already become popular with students and staff eager to try out equipment such as 3D printers and laser cutters, DSLR cameras, phone gimbals and high-spec computers running industry-level software.
Second-year Computer Science student, Dragos Popa, was one of the first students to visit the hub in its development stages. Inspired by the possibilities of the Library Makerspace, Dragos used a t-shirt press to repair the peeling lettering of a beloved FCSB football shirt, saving them an expensive trip back to Romania for a replacement.
Another early user of the space, Senior Book Repair Technician, Alex Leece, took advantage of the makerspace's 3D printer to create additional tools for the Libraries book-binding service. They continue to expand the service’s capabilities by experimenting with the space’s electronic cutting machines to replace gold embossed emblems and titles on book covers.
Digital Learning Advisor, Em Towler says, “There is expert support and liaison available via the Makerspace Specialist, who has already been working with a student from the Table Top Gaming Society on 3D object design and exploring prototyping for a sound meter with two entrepreneurial students. They’ve also supported a library staff member responsible for book repairs to identify new methods of working. It’s impressive considering they found and used the space before the official launch had even happened!”
The Library Makerspace is now open to all staff, students and prebooked external visitors from 11am to 4pm from Monday to Thursday.
More information about the space, equipment and how to access can be found on the Makerspace webpages.