On Saturday, March 21, the West Orange Public Library invites community members of all ages to join in for an exciting day filled with activities for the first ever New Jersey Makers Day. There will be an adult activity involving creating recycled jewelry and family activities involving technology demos and art.
The maker movement in the United States isn’t just a hobby, it has had a significant impact on school curriculum development and growing local economies. West Orange Library is just one of many that are participating in this state wide event that celebrates making and maker culture, in libraries, schools, museums, homes, and other community locations.
The day is designed to celebrate, promote, and introduce maker culture and the values associated with making, tinkering and STEM-based learning. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment in occupations related to STEM -- science, technology, engineering, and mathematics - is projected to grow to more than 9 million between now and 2022, an increase of about 1 million jobs."
In fact, maker spaces across the state are having a significant impact on education and job development by providing access to people, information, resources, and tools that facilitate making to a wide variety of skill levels. Popular equipment in these spaces include 3D printers, single board microcontrollers like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, robotics, digital media production, computer programming, textile and handicrafts, and more.
As Library Director Dave Cubie gears up for the highly anticipated event, he explains, “We are committed to finding ways to help people to learn new skills and to work collaboratively.”
The library’s Makers Day will kick off with an Adult Makers event from 10am-1pm where adults can bring mismatched or broken pieces of jewelry and create something new with artist Sylvia Taylor. Taylor is a lifelong artist and creates collages and studio jewelry. For more information about her work, see http://www.sylviataylor.net. Registration is required and space is limited for this event. Adults can register today by visiting the library’s online calendar at www.wopl.org.
From 1:30pm to 4pm, families will be able to enjoy five different activity stations featuring fun activities for all ages. Families can also stop by for a free cupcake provided by local bakery Pink CupCake while supplies last. This event is open to all and requires no registration.
The activities will feature a Raspberry Pi Demo with a MakeyMakey provided by the support of local community members and the Nutley Public Library. Children will be able to play various games by making control panels out of everyday objects. The library will hold a Marshmallow Challenge, created by engineer Tom Wujec, where teams will compete to build the tallest free-standing structure using 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The Marshmallow must be placed on top of the structure and teams will have only eighteen minutes to build their structures. Families will also be able to build free-range with building blocks.
The library will also be holding a hands-on art activity led by local artist Jennie Traill Schaeffer and a coding demo using MIT’s Scratch, a simple programming language that will give families the opportunity to play with two Finch Robots provided by BirdBrain Technologies. Schaeffer was named one of the “Best Artist Under 40” in 2009 by the New Jersey Herald and Best New Artist in Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council in 2006. For more information about her work visit: http://www.traillworks.com/.
For more information on the NJ Makers Day at the West Orange Public Library, please contact Lanora Melillo at 973-736-0198 or visit www.wopl.org. WOPL is located at 46 Mt. Pleasant Ave. To find out more information about NJ Makers Day visit www.njmakersday.org.