Toronto's reference library gets a makerspace

Toronto's Metro Reference Library has unveiled its new makerspace, which sports 3D printer and scanners, Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits, and digital AV production gear. They've also lured the Toronto Mini-Maker Faire into relocating to their space. The library's makerspace will over classes and workshops on programming, hardware hacking, and repairing your electronics. It's a great all-ages/all-comers complement to Toronto's existing makerspaces, including Hacklab, Site3, and Makerkids.

The location couldn't be any better, either. I love Metro Ref. When I was 14, I dropped out of high-school without telling my parents and started taking the subway down to Yonge and Bloor every day, spending all day at the reference library, spelunking in the shelves, subject indices and (especially) the newspaper microfilm, which was amazing. And I've always loved the idea of makerspaces in libraries: as I wrote during last year's Freedom to Read week, "We need to master computers — to master the systems of information, so that we can master information itself.

That's where makers come in."

In a brief interview with Torontist, Toronto City Librarian Jane Pyper explains why the library's opened a makerspace:

Jane Pyper, the City's top librarian, says the investment reflects a broader trend toward more experiential modes of learning, but stresses it's in keeping with the library's history and mandate. "Libraries have always been about support learning in all its forms," she says, pointing out that the library has provided DVDs, CDs, Internet service, and e-materials as technology and expectations have evolved. "And libraries have also been about bringing people together, particularly around equity of access."

While Pyper spoke with Torontoist, a class of schoolchildren watched as a 3D printer started layering plastic to make a chess piece, and other kids played around with 3D-modelling software and checked out some finished products, like a fine-tooth comb and a Toronto Public Library 3D-printed key fob.

Reference Library Unveils 3D Printers, Is Cooler Than Indigo [David Hains/Torontoist]

(Image: Andrew Louis)

(Thanks, Adrienne T!)