Natrona County Public Library, WY
The staff at the Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming, wanted to create a community makerspace, called the Creation Station, where people with similar ideas and interests could gather to work on projects.
They envisioned a flexible workspace where individuals and small groups could share supplies, equipment, and knowledge to bring their inventions and creations to life. The new library makerspace would also be used to enhance and expand the library’s existing programs with hands-on STEAM workshops, demonstrations, and projects for all ages.
In order to achieve their vision, library leaders knew they needed new furniture and seating, collaborative pieces such as markerboard tables, and a variety of storage. Along with being mobile and colorful, the furnishings would also need to be durable and easy to clean since the space would be used for a variety of making activities.
As a first step in bringing the Creation Station to life, library staff removed all the shelving, desks, and carpeting from a room that previously held the library’s DVD collection. But the staff soon realized that creating a new room layout and furniture plan, along with a cohesive aesthetic, was harder than it looked, and they turned to Demco’s interior experts for assistance.
“We were able to tell Demco about our goals for the space and they came up with an attractive and functional plan that included not only furniture and storage solutions, but colors and layout,” shared Adult Services Manager Betsy O’Neil.
Along with rectangular markerboard tables and clover-shaped tables with storage beneath, the Demco team incorporated a variety of seating options for kids and adults to help separate the library makerspace into children’s, teens, and adult spaces. A dry-erase table in the children’s area invites younger users to doodle and create right on the surface and a dry-erase room divider helps keep the children’s area separate within the larger space.
All the new materials in the Creation Station found a home in one of the many storage options, which include heavy-duty mobile bookcases and cabinets, as well as mobile units with pullout storage bins.
To get staff familiar with the new library makerspace, leaders held many training sessions before the Creation Station opened and continue to hold trainings as they add new tools to the space. Using their creativity and their newfound tools, the staff created STEAM programming for both children and adults and are often asked to give tours to acquaint patrons with the new resources.
Along with the highly attended programs, one of the most popular activities in the Creation Station is the TeacherGeek Maker Cart in the children’s area, which features 15,000 parts and pieces that kids can use to invent and create. Children work from TeacherGeek project printouts or enjoy the freedom of creating anything they can think of out of the myriad materials housed in the cart. Users can also work with the new littleBits kits to learn about circuitry and create working inventions.
Patrons of all ages have been enthusiastic about having access to the tools the new library makerspace provides, as the Creation Station is the first makerspace in Natrona County that is free and open to everyone. And they’ve already seen the impact they hoped to achieve, said library leaders, by creating a space that connects community members and stimulates entrepreneurship.
Take a closer look at Natrona County Library’s new Creation Station in 3600 virtual reality.