Grant Funds Provide New Robots for Library Makerspace Programs

WildWorks participants work on robots and learn about how to make mini art-bots with motors.Thanks to a mini-grant from the New Mexico State Library, new robots are coming to the Silver City Public Library’s WildWorks youth hangout. WildWorks is a space for tweens and teens (ages 10 and up) to experiment with robots, electrical circuits, 3D drawing, kinetic art, computer programming, and other hands-on activities. The activity happens during the school year on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 4:00-6:00pm. Using the State Library funding, the public library has purchased one set of twelve Cubelets and two Sphero robots. “Up to this point we have used Lego Mindstorms robot kits and free game-building software from MIT to learn computer programming concepts at WildWorks,” said Lillian Galloway, programming and outreach librarian. “The addition of Cubelets and Sphero robots increases our opportunities to learn about coding and computer logic.” As described on the Modular Robotics website, Cubelets snap together easily to create robots whose behavior changes depending on the components used and the order in which they are connected. The Sphero is an orb-shaped robot that moves and lights up in response to the users’ instructions. Youth at WildWorks will be able to program the Sphero robots using library devices and free apps. More about Sphero can be found at sphero.com/sphero-sprk.

The next WildWorks event for youth will be on Thursday, March 31, 10am-12pm (special spring break session). Tweens and teens are welcome to stop by the library anytime during the event to join in, no registration necessary. Adults are invited to try out the makerspace tools on Thursday, March 31, 3:00-5:00pm. We are excited to be able to respond to demand and give the grown-ups a turn!

The pilot grant program from the New Mexico State Library is offered to public libraries to establish, improve, or expand public makerspace programs for children, teens, and adults. “A makerspace is a place to share tools, supplies, and ideas for creation and experimentation,” explained Galloway. “Makerspaces across the country, many housed within libraries, give people a chance to learn new skills and concepts in an organic, fun way.” The New Mexico State Library is supporting makerspaces in New Mexico public libraries in order to excite communities about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), encourage participants to reclaim New Mexico’s rich heritage of making, and introduce exciting new technologies in a fun and accessible way.

The library is located at 515 West College Avenue, on the corner of College Avenue and Cooper Street. For more information, contact Lillian Galloway at 575-538-3672 or ref@silvercitymail.com.

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