Among the many of you who are crafting your summer away, we have at least two public libraries, in our region, bolstering their involvement with the maker movement. This summer Nortonville Public Library is a super affiliate for Maker Camp 2013, and Lawrence Public Library has included two electronics days to their normal teen programming. Diane Trinkle of Nortonville Public Library and Karen Allen of Lawrence Public Library took time to share their programming notes. Diane mentions that there is a lack of advanced preparation available for Maker Camp; Jenny Levine the ALA liaison for Maker Camp said that this will be something they will work on for next year.

Maker Camp – Diane Trinkls

The Nortonville Public Library is a Super Affiliate for a program called Maker Camp. We received a large box of materials for the advanced projects offered during the camp. The materials included a soldering kit, Raspberry Pi computer, 10 t-shirts, an Arduino Uno microcontroller pack, a Makey Makey kit, some EZ-El Electroluminescent wires, a Spinbot kit and more.

This is the second year we have participated in Maker Camp. Last year we completed six projects and [this year] it looks as if we will complete a few more.

Camp is offered daily online with discussions about the projects. All instructions are posted online, as well. We use the instructions to complete our projects because the timing of the presentations is not convenient for us.

Last week, we paired a Camp project with our regular LEGO day and learned about jet propulsion. It was great because our first attempt at the project did not work out. We asked for suggestions and tweaked it just a bit. It worked like a charm. We had LEGO cars zooming around the library and even held a race to see who designed the fastest car. It was a great learning experience.

The information for Maker Camp suggests participants should be 12 and up. This is a good age for the more advanced projects, but you have the choice of a less complicated project that works well for younger participants.

Some of the complicated projects are really above my comfort level. However, the participants have no problem tackling them. Our next big project will be the speedometer vest. It show a bicycle’s speed in large numbers on the back of a vest worn by the rider. We are working up the courage to try this one.

Maker Camp is a great idea. Our participants are learning things they would never be able to any other way. The projects are well thought out and instructions are very detailed. However, we did not get information on the Make Camp until the middle of June. This made it impossible for us to plan in advance for promoting it, as our schedule goes out in May.  Camp is held mid-July through mid-August. There were also delays in getting information out on future projects. After all, who has a dozen two liter bottles, pvc pipe, helium, a toy fish and more laying around? It would help if we knew further in advance what the projects are and supplies to collect. We would be inclined to do almost all of the projects if we had that information by the end of April. It would be very heavily promoted by us, as well. In spite of the inconveniences, we are planning to participate in the future.

Maker Camp is sponsored by Make Magazine. They also sponsor the Maker Faire held each year in Kansas City. If you get the opportunity, you should attend. It really opened my eyes to the maker movement and let me know that being a maker is about creating anything. Although science and technology get the most press, it is only a small portion of what makers create.

If you want more information on Maker Camp, visit and find Camp activities under Events.

Teen Maker Programs – Karen Allen

The two programs that we touted as “maker” programs were big hits. We usually get a good crowd for any craft or food based program, but the tech programs that we have spun this way have had really great turnouts. We had room for 20 at yesterday’s program, I called/emailed everyone for reminders, and we had 17. The ‘throwie‘ program didn’t require registration and we had 19. For teen events at LPL, this is pretty good. I’d like to have more…but that’ll have to wait until we’re in a bigger space.

The LED bow project was taken directly from Adafruit. We ordered our supplies separately and saved a bunch of money. The sewing kits would have been $329.20. We spent $86.45 for all tech and ribbon. We did have batteries and other various sewing/craft supplies on hand. Even if we had to buy batteries, needles, thread, more ribbon, material, and glue, we still would have saved money. And, we have leftover supplies that we can use for future programs (touch screen gloves in the fall!).

The bow itself was pretty hard to do. We had an optional bow tie project that was much simpler in construction. I used instructions for a cloth bow tie from this website and adjusted it to mesh with our supplies and the LED construction part of the Adafruit design.

Post program, I would have just done the bow tie construction for a hair bow or bow tie. All told, we only had seven people designing bows and I think that was manageable given our time frame and how much help everyone needed. I would repeat the program, but with more instructors to help, swapping out ribbon for cloth bow designs, and maybe a little more time.

Thanks you ladies for your well thought out insight.

Photo Credit: “Gears.” by Flickr user ianmunroe under a Creative Commons license.