A Makerspace at Millennium

Learning by Doing

Maker programs are a new initiative in our library, that provide learning through exploration, collaboration, innovation, and engineering. These programs are open to people of all ages and include collaboration, hands-on experimentation, and creative learning. Hundreds of library visitors have already participated in Maker programs and all have been very well received.

What is a Makerspace?

Makerspaces provide a place for anyone to design, construct, and test their idea, invention, or vision. Makerspaces often include tools and equipment that are too expensive or specialized for most people to own, and provide a gathering place for like-minded people to create, collaborate, and explore.

Makerspaces are dedicated facilities available for Maker activities. Makerspaces often include tools and equipment that are too expensive or specialized for most people to have in their homes, as well as providing a gathering place for like-minded people to create and collaborate, to explore their passions or answer a burning question.

Makerspaces might include some or all of the following resources, combined in a wide range of activities:

  • technology - programming, robotics, circuitry
  • digital fabrication - 3d printing, machining, CAD
  • art - music, photography, video, sculpture
  • craft and design - metalwork, woodworking, other craft and construction
  • mixed science applications - drones, rockets, model planes and vehicles

Winnipeg Public Library's Maker Initiative

The Maker movement is alive and well at the Winnipeg Public Library! Our Makerspace programs provide opportunities for people of all ages to create, experiment, and collaborate in a self-directed, hands-on learning environment. Through these programs, the library connects the community to expertise, information, and resources that foster innovation and life-long learning.

All of the Library's Maker programs include:

  • a collaborative element
  • active, hands-on learning
  • transferable skills
  • experimentation and trial and error
  • opportunities for creativity

In 2015, there were 93 programs held for almost 1,000 participants of all ages. This programming has been so successful that it's even been recognized by the Manitoba Library Association - the Winnipeg Public Library won the 2015 Innovation of the Year Award, which recognizes improvements in library services resulting from new and innovative ideas. The award noted the impressive depth of the project, and cited the initiative's long-term commitment to evolving community needs and dedication to staff engagement and training.

Also in 2015, the Library held its first Maker Faire, a public event where people could come and try various Maker tools and projects at 10 stations set up in Millennium Library. Over 200 enthusiastic participants attended the event.

Some feedback:

"This program is so much fun! It helped further my interest in electronics and increased my technical knowledge."

"It's so great to have these kinds of events in the library available for the public and for free."

"Great program, made everything seem way more accessible."

"This was so much fun - I didn't realize I could be so artistic. Thank you! Thank you!"

"I totally enjoyed this program."

"Awesome workshop - so cool, creative, artistic & sustainable. Winnipeg Public Library, you're the best!"

"Keep it up. Great program! Keeps the creative juice flowing."

"I really enjoyed this program. It challenged my skills."

"A fantastic experience, a little bit of learning combined with a lot of fun. A great way to get kids interacting with each other, creating imagination and working together as a team!!"

"Fun. The fact that you can build your own thing is fantastic!"

"Very good. Got to learn new skills and talk to different people!"

Our Makerspace

A 3,500 square foot space has been set aside on the third floor of Millennium Library. Plans call for a flexible open room, a smaller classroom area, and a separate area for building-type projects that may not involve technology. Furniture will be functional and easily moved as required. A variety of unique and exciting tools will be available in our Makerspace, including 3D printer stations, gaming areas, robotics, audio and video/green screen recording areas, and a variety of computer and electronics-based tools. This unique space will be open to everyone, and will be managed by a dedicated staff team.

The total project budget is $550,000 for renovations, furnishings, and equipment.