Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Make Your Own Kitchen Tools

kitchenTools_1Here are some of our favorite kitchen tool projects from Make:.

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Showing Off: The Making of an Exhibit

Exhibit_Signby Sharon Wolff

It seems to me that one of the most frustrating things about working in an institution like a museum or a library is having to coax people into your institution. It can be like pulling teeth, but the best ways to do it involve things like programming and exhibits.

But how best to go about arranging an exhibit? Believe it or not there are good ways and bad ways to do it; here are a few things to keep in consideration.

The first concern should always be the safety of the materials that are being put on display. Depending on what they are, there are preservation and security issues that need to be taken into account. Preservation concerns are dependent on the objects being displayed: what material they are, how old they are, their size and structure, as well as the length of the planned exhibit. Harsh lighting can and will cause damage and deterioration to paper materials, along with fading of ink and paint. Precautions such as cases and rotation of materials for long exhibits should be taken; even something like turning pages in books can help minimize the damage caused to them. Proper support should be given to objects and books to put the least amount of strain on them as possible. If you are unsure about the preservation needs of any of the items you plan to put on display you should consult a professional.

Book_Support

Security concerns are related to the value of the object and the location of the exhibit. If at all possible, avoid putting a valuable object on display. Instead put a less valuable reproduction of it; such as a reprint of a rare book or professional-grade photographs of objects. If your institution has security cameras the exhibit should be placed in a way that it can be easily monitored, and staff should be able to have at least one eye on the exhibit at all times when it is open to the public. This is especially relevant if the exhibit has a tactile element; in this case objects should be closely watched and/or somehow attached to their display podium.

Security concerns are related to the value of the object and the location of the exhibit.

Now on to the fun part: designing the exhibit. Color needs to be considered, of both the objects and the background of the cases and/or walls that the items are being displayed against. Background colors should be as neutral as possible, or subtly contrasting to make items ‘pop’. I must emphasize subtle; too much contrast and the focus will be on the background and not the objects. The arrangement of the items should also be taken into account; it is important that each display area is balanced or something will seem ‘off’.

Brooklyn_Bridge

The most easily recognizable form of balance is symmetrical balance, demonstrated in the picture above. This is fairly self-explanatory, the image or display can be divided down the middle with a straight line and be identical on either side. This can be easily done with objects, for example two smaller items on either side of a large item in the middle. Simple and satisfying. Slightly more difficult but most likely more necessary is asymmetrical or occult balance, demonstrated in the image below. This is a more naturally occurring form of balance, and can really only be described as “you know it when you see it.” If you are having trouble with arranging objects or are unsure about the layout you have chosen, ask someone with a fresh pair of eyes to come in and look at your progress so far.

The exhibit should be featured both online and ‘in person’ at your institution, and flyers posted in appropriate places around town can’t go amiss either.

Starry_Night

Other concerns to take into account are the layout of the display cases, leave enough room for browsers to walk easily among them, and the advertisement of the event. The exhibit should be featured both online and ‘in person’ at your institution, and flyers posted in appropriate places around town can’t go amiss either. With these elements in mind, you are on your way to a successful exhibit!

 

scarf2Sharon Wolff is an Archives and Records Administration grad student at University at Albany, SUNY, soon to be entering the work force. She has interned at the Smithsonian Institute American Art/Portrait Gallery Library and has been a Technical Assistant in the University at Albany Theatre Department. She currently works part time at the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives on campus.



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Monday, 30 May 2016

Hacking Retro Tech Gets Me Through the Good Times and the Bad

rpi vcr"I've always had a passion for vintage electronics, and making these old clunkers live again with new tech really inspires me."

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Made in Baltimore: Maker Education

Tour-with-Professor-Lori-Rubeling's-Stevenson-University-fashion-design-class,-March,-2016.-Photo-by-Will-Holman.Most schools would love a chance to use a makerspace, so reach out to them! Reach more students with a maker education.

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Sunday, 29 May 2016

European Maker Week: 500+ Events and First Maker Faire at the European Parliament

maker faire rome botLast time we reported on European Maker Week (EMW), the organizers were just beginning to spread the word and encourage all fab labs, makerspaces, schools, research centers, and any other organizations that promote making to organize and register an event during the week of May 30 to June 5, creating […]

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This Week in Making: Robot Farmers, Candy Machines, and Maker Faire!

Lovin Makey-1This past week we got nostalgic for our time at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016, drooled over a 19th century candy maker, and scoped out robots that farm.

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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Weekend Watch: Woodworking Around The World

woodThe International Wood Culture Society takes a look at the many forms of woodworking that have developed across the world.

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Friday, 27 May 2016

How to Make an Alaskan Ulu Knife

dsc05302Woodworker David Picciuto fashions an ulu knife from some stainless stock and a few pieces of wood.

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You Could Be Part of the Mind-Blowing Awesomeness of Nantes Maker Faire

image_fichier_fr_ela.phant_Nantes Maker Faire has already got an amazing line up of makers, but there are still some spots left! Here's a taste of what you can expect.

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Blind Arduino Project Proves You Don’t Need to See to Build Electronics

A variety of accessibility devices were on display at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016. Photo by Hep SvadjaWilliam Gerrey and Dr. Joshua Miele made the Blind Arduino Project to help those in the blind community expand their STEM and Maker education.

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Adorable X-Wing Pilot Costume Comes Complete with Real Wings

X Wing 4We've reached a consensus: This X-Wing Pilot costume is totes adorbz and the wings are real even if not functional for flying through space.

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This Functioning Monster 6502 Is a Larger Than Life Version of the Iconic Microchip

DSC01411 (Medium)The Monster 6502 is an incredible homage to the chip that revolutionized home computing.

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Make a Pair of BB-8 High Heels

FM824A2IHWIJ23G.ANIMATED.LARGETurns heads at your next sci-fi cosplay event with these Star Wars BB-8 high heels.

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3D Printers: Program or Service?

I'm always reflecting and evaluating how something is working especially something as expensive as our Ultimaker 2 3D printer.  Before purchasing a 3D printer, make sure to have a talk with staff about what they hope to accomplish with this printer. Is it a program? Is it a self-directed service? Is it both? This is true for any kind of new equipment such as video to DVD conversion, scanners, free Adobe suite products, and other items in our digital media lab. Ideally, people would come in, sit down and independently use the equipment for personal projects but some might need that initial tutorial for the confidence to begin.

I don't think we are at a point yet where most people have enough exposure to 3D printers to offer it as just another service (like our ink jet printers) without some beginner programming. It needs highlighting in newsletters, website, social media, etc. Sometimes it just takes that one hour program to encourage the self-directed learning that you hope to provide as a 3D printing "service".  Advertising a program like 3D printing and having no one show up? Don't be discouraged. This advertisement has planted the notion that your library has a 3D printer available.  Maybe Intro to 3D Printing is too vague? The reference department here did a series of directed workshops like board game pieces, jewelry, hand drawn prints and mother/daughter prints, to provide guidance with their initial printing endeavors. Some patrons gladly went off on their own projects but others liked the narrowed project guidance.

I feel like a carnival barker sometimes but try to bring your printer out in a visible space once in a while before the program itself. If you show it, they will come, eventually.  Even a simple display with 3D printed sample items is a real eye catcher and an opportunity for talk at the desk.
Since January, I have run monthly 3D printing beginner workshops (6 kids each) with only a few return customers coming back to print more. But the ones that have returned to print on their own made some really incredible things, one even winning a science fair! I am hoping this summer, when school commitments are over, kids will return to designing. We are going to hold weekly classes on Friday afternoons in July.

I have also emailed Boy and Girl Scout troops to offer a programming. I have had one Boy Scout pack visit and two Girl Scout troops this year. Remember they don't expect libraries to be offering these things so you still need to reach out, shout it from the rooftops and have patience.

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How Punch Cards and Arduino Close the Gap on Hacked Knitting

Hacked-knitting-machineYou can still use punch cards to operate knitting machines, but a few groups are now bringing the technology full circle by hacking knitting machines so that they may be operated digitally via an Arduino.

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Spy on Garden Critters with Raspberry Pi-Powered Night Vision

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 10.55.21 AMAndrew Wedgbury has a fondness for hedge hogs. To better capture their lives in his garden, he made this Raspberry Pi camera.

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The Great Make: Rocketry Round-Up

megaGyroc_9Check out some of the amazing rocketry projects and articles we have featured over the years.

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The “America’s Greatest Maker” That Just Won a Million Bucks Is…

Team Grush Check PrezoBehold the champions of the first season of America's Greatest Makers, and learn about their plans for the $1,000,000 prize.

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This Amazing Zootopia Costume Was Made in Under 3 Weeks

judy farm picIt took 2.5 weeks for Colleen to fall in love with Zootopia's Judy Hopps, fabricate the costume, and get to a con.

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Making a Life-Size Tyrannosaurus Rex Skull Replica

IMG_4583"Mabel" the Tyrannosaurus Rex skull is a 5 foot long dino cutie made out of Papier-Mâché and 500+ hours of effort.

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Exploring Public Art at the Forest Park Public Library

This post originally appeared on the LAIP in July 2015. It’s one of our favorite public art projects to take place at a library–just in time for outdoor activities! 

Today’s story (and project kit) comes to us from Elaine Luther, an artist whose work with libraries we’ve featured on the LAIP before, and Alicia Hammond, Community Engagement Librarian at the Forest Park Public Library in Illinois. Elaine and Alicia give us the scoop on the process of installation a major public art piece at a library. Enjoy! ~Laura

The finished EXPLORE installation at Forest Park Public Library. Photo by Elaine Luther.

The finished EXPLORE installation at Forest Park Public Library. Photo by Ralph Romero.

by Elaine Luther and Alicia Hammond

Interactive public art projects are risky, but they work like magic to bring people together, activate spaces and bring energy and excitement to the library!

As part of the Summer of Exploration Summer Program, the Forest Park Public Library’s Community Engagement Librarian Alicia Hammond enlisted artist Elaine Luther to create a very special interactive art installation.

Both of us are very inspired by the work of Chicago artist Matthew Hoffman whose “You Are Beautiful” installations are popping up all over the Chicagoland area and beyond.  These outdoor installations feature freestanding or fence mounted letters that spell out a phrase.  Elaine had experience creating installations including part of a “You Are Beautiful” installation as well as building the word “LOVE” for a Valentine’s Day themed gallery show.

We selected the term “EXPLORE” and found an open area on the library’s front lawn.  However, we didn’t just want to install art in front of the library.  We wanted to create an event that encouraged the community to have a hands on opportunity to get creative.  After Alicia secured permission from the Library Director, it was all systems go.

Elaine decided on creating four foot tall letters out of wooden boards.  The letter “O” was selected to be three dimensional to play off the exploration theme and create visual interest and variety. She concentrated on creating letters that would be able to weather rain, some wind and the humid heat of Chicago summers.

Letter being assembled. Photo by Elaine Luther.

Letter being assembled. Photo by Ralph Romero.

The color palette was selected to match the Summer of Exploration program’s marketing materials (designed by Yearbook Studios).

The day of the event brought a beautiful summer day. The letters were installed into the ground and we brought out a table with paint, brushes, water, and hand wipes.  The color palette remained simple with red, blue, and yellow paint in order to remain cohesive.

Letters installed. Photo by Elaine Luther.

Letters installed. Photo by Ralph Romero.

We weren’t out there long before people started showing up and painting.  We had about 15 people signed up for the event but were more than open to drop ins.  We invited anyone who walked by to pick up a paint brush and contribute.  The kids were more than happy to jump in but some of the adults took a little more convincing. Several told us there were too old to paint or were afraid to mess up our project. If an adult was hesitant, Elaine would encourage them to start small and make dots with a cotton swab. That worked. Anyone can make dots!  (Next time, we will bring smocks also to eliminate the fear of getting messy.)

Participants painting letters.

Participants painting letters. Photo by Ralph Romero.

Participants painting.

Participants painting letters. Photo by Ralph Romero.

Altogether about 30 people stopped by to paint. However, the reach of this event and piece of art is much more.  The installation will be out in front of the library for about two months.  We truly activated the space, it was so exciting! We even slowed traffic as drivers slowed down and rubber-necked! A few drivers honked and waved to show their approval. Neighbors who knew each other by sight but had never spoken before met and had conversations!

Below is the materials list, instructions for building the letters. Following that we have suggestions for variations, things we learned might do differently next time.

Below is the materials list and instructions for building the letters. We have also included variations and things we might do differently next time.

Materials for the building of the letters:

  • 9 boards – 1” x 8” by 8’ (Elaine chose 8’ boards because that’s the largest she could  fit in her car.) You can make all the letters to spell out “EXPLORE” (except the O) out of eight boards. Think about including one or two extra boards in case of errors.($64)
  • Wood glue
  • Screws
  • Electric drill
  • Screwdriver
  • 12 plastic strips for the “O”  from the Re-use store. ($6)
  • Drill bits to match the size of the pop rivets. Elaine used 1/8 and 3/16 drill bits and pop rivets
  • Pop rivets ($10.14)
  • Pop rivet tool (about $2o)
  • Exterior primer and paint.  Elaine used exterior oil based primer* which cannot be used indoors and may have been overkill.
  • Colored exterior latex. (4 quarts of paint x $16.68 each with leftovers.)
  • Plus one gallon of paint donated by the artist.
  • Garden stakes, we used steel stakes, 4’ and 5’ ones (8 x $4.99, 1 x $5.99)
  • Zip ties (for the letter O) (11.99, with leftovers)
  • Screws and washers (insignificant cost, we used what we had on hand in the basement)

Supplies for the day of:

  • lots of baby wipes for cleaning patron’s hands
  • plastic cups to pour paint into
  • a bucket of rinse water
  • paper towels
  • bottled water for patrons, esp. if it’s a hot day ($4.99 for a case)
  • paintbrushes ($0.69 each x 12)
  • table to hold paint and supplies, covered with a plastic drop cloth
  • cotton swabs for detail work and because they are less intimidating than paint brushes
  • trash can

*oil based primer can be used under latex paint and increases the water resistance and longevity of the paint job. It also makes the top coat of paint glide on smoothly. It’s recommended if possible, but is not totally required.

Variations

You could use the words for a summer reading theme, a 100th anniversary, or to highlight a new product or service at the library. For example, the Forest Park Library has wifi hot spots, they could have 4’ letters outside saying, “CHECK OUT THE INTERNET.”

Instead of painting the letters with a color, they could be painted with chalkboard paint and patrons would be invited to answer a question in chalk. The question could be made out of 4’ letters, or it could be on a nearby sandwich board.

Notes on construction

For this project, Elaine learned to use a table saw and built the letters by assembling them with wood glue and screws. While it’s very straight forward for the E and L, it was a little tricky to to figure out the angles and method of construction for the P and R.

If you aren’t able to find an artist to run the entire event, the library could break up the project and have a woodworker build the letters and an artist choose the paint colors and run the workshop.

Another option is to have the letters custom cut using a CNC router. Creating the letters was extremely time intensive and took multiple trips to the hardware store. The additional cost of CNC routing may be off-set by a reduced wood cost, as a less expensive type of wood (plywood) may be able to be used. Another benefit of CNC routing is that it could be used to draw in additional populations at the library. For instance, teens could be invited to create the digital files (perhaps using Inkscape, a free, open source program) for the letters.

A related workshop could be held where teens use a Silhouette Cameo to make vinyl cut letters to decorate an indoor section of the library (I believe the Silhouette company makes some low tack material for applying removable decorations to walls and cabinets). This would extend the project and theme to the inside and outside of the library and generate buy-in for the program with teens.

Here are some close-up photos showing the installation method.

Back of letters. Close up of back of letters. Zip-ties.

Further reading:



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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

This post was originally published on May 28 2014

Migrant Mother. Dorothea Lange, 1936. From the Farm Security collection.

Migrant Mother. Dorothea Lange, 1936. From the Farm Security collection.

by Angela Terrab

It’s a catalog! No, it’s a digital gallery! No, it’s both, and a resource guide to boot! The Library of Congress’s Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) is a marvel of both depth and breadth, and a must-see for students, researchers, and American history buffs.

As a catalog, the PPOC displays the detailed and diligent metadata one expect of the nation’s premier library, with full MARC records for 95% of the collections 14 million holdings. To do the math, that’s records for 13.3 million images, covering an enormous breadth of American visual history:

The collections of the Prints & Photographs Division include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people.

Dan Sullivan card from the Prints and Photographs featured collection on baseball cards.

Dan Sullivan card from the Prints and Photographs featured collection on baseball cards.

More than just a catalog, though, the PPOC contains embedded images for over 1.2 million listings. While this only begins to scratch the collection overall, it is more than enough to provide access to a rich digital gallery. Many records, especially in the featured collections, contain either thumbnail or full-size downloadable images.

In addition to item-level cataloging, there are in-depth collection descriptions for 70+ collections, covering such Americana from baseball cards to Spanish Civil War posters. Collection-level information contains essay-style narrative on the historical context, a bibliography of resources on the topic, and rights information for the images on display. Select collections also contain detailed information on original formatting and the digitization process. (See, for instance, the information on Mammoth Plate Photographs and digitization connected to the Detroit Publishing Company collection.)

While this site is not as updated or visually polished as standouts like the New York Public Library Digital Collections, it is well-organized and fairly intuitive to navigate, with a prominently located search field and navigation links in the page-left sidebar. After all, the PPOC is a self-described catalog, and it certainly offers users this functionality. Everything extra is just cherry.



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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Adam Savage Telling Stories at Maker Faire Bay Area

adamSavageAnother inspiring Sunday morning sermon from Adam Savage.

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Is This a New X-Carve CNC Machine?

DSC_7808In the back of the Inventables Maker Faire meetup last night, we noticed a different-looking X-Carve CNC machine, with a thicker cross rail and an attached power supply with a new array of control buttons.

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Making Ukuleles with CNC Router Parts

DSC01398 (Medium)Instead of a small little demo piece, CNC Router Parts are creating full size working ukuleles all weekend, using their collection of computer controlled machines.

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Saturday, 21 May 2016

Good Lord This Gyrating Giant Mechanical Squid Is Gorgeous

MechateuthisThe movements of this giant sculpture are so organic, it looks like it comes alive in front of you

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What It’s Like In Space: Weird Stories from Those Who’ve Been

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 11.02.53 AM"What It's Like in Space: Stories From Astronauts Who Have Been There" highlights astronaut's most interesting — and often bizarre — stories.

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Weekend Watch: Transforming Timber with Trustin Timbers

Timber1With basic tools, a chainsaw, and some chisels, Trustin Timbers is transforming whatever wood he happens to come by into rustic furniture.

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Friday, 20 May 2016

The New “Arduino Create” Makes for Easier IoT Dev, Better Collaboration

Massimo Banzi will be talking about Arduino Create on the Center Stage on Saturday.Arduino Create, which came out of beta today, is a web-based development platform for Arduino that allows you to write, share, and collaborate on sketches.

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New 3D Printers Unveiled Today at Maker Faire Bay Area

DSC_2747Maker Faire always attracts the latest innovative technologies, and this year is no different. Check out three new 3D printer models unveiled today.

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Make: Partners with Hackster and GE to Offer Lights for Life Challenge

Blog Promo-1Design the future of connected lighting — and see your winning design manufactured and brought to market!

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Amateur Scientists Will Love Science Journal, Google’s New App

GoogleScienceJournal-4So many of your phones sensors are hidden or hard to access, but Science Journal, the new Android App from Google, makes it easy to use them.

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5 Essential Meta-Level Tips for Makers

artists-asylumLet's look at some of the top-level tips to consider around the art of creativity and making things.

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Qualcomm Showcases DragonBoard 410c’s Expanded Developer Options at Maker Faire

Qualcomm's Snapdragon DragonBoard 410c development board.DragonBoard 410c Returns to Maker Faire Last year at Maker Faire Qualcomm® upped its game in an effort to attract Makers and other developers to their DragonBoard™ 410c development board. This year the chip manufacturing giant returns to Maker Faire Bay Area with demos of custom apps, games, and robots […]

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Live Updates: Maker Faire Bay Area 2016

mfbaTune in to this post for a constant stream of live updates from Maker Faire Bay Area 2016!

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5 Girl-Powered Presentations to Watch at Maker Faire Bay Area

rlt cheerFrom inspiration to action, Maker Faires create an environment that fosters inventiveness. This year young girls will be showing off their inventor spirit.

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Notable Makers Share Why They’re Headed to Maker Faire

MF15-22We ask popular makers why Maker Faire Bay Area is so special.

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Linkubator Roundup

New on the site:

Fun stuff around the web:

  • Remix and create with 180,000 out-of-copyright photos, maps, letters etc FREE from NYPL!
  • Super interesting article on the massive efforts the Royal Ontario Museum put into putting its holdings online
  • Calling all Olympics nerds! Google Street View has added indoor maps of the 2016 Olympic Venues in Rio
  • You can download 40,000 Works of Asian & American Art for free from the Smithsonian
  • Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums!
  • How can school and public libraries work together?
  • Check out these TED Talks that capture the magic of libraries!
  • The jewel of Harvard’s botanical collection is set to reopen!


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Linkubator Roundup

New on the site:

Fun stuff around the web:

  • Remix and create with 180,000 out-of-copyright photos, maps, letters etc FREE from NYPL!
  • Super interesting article on the massive efforts the Royal Ontario Museum put into putting its holdings online
  • Calling all Olympics nerds! Google Street View has added indoor maps of the 2016 Olympic Venues in Rio
  • You can download 40,000 Works of Asian & American Art for free from the Smithsonian
  • Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums!
  • How can school and public libraries work together?
  • Check out these TED Talks that capture the magic of libraries!
  • The jewel of Harvard’s botanical collection is set to reopen!


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Follow Along with the Maiden Voyage of This Beach-Cleaning Robot

robotmissions_seagullRobot Missions is trying to create a robot platform for cleaning up beaches. But that means lots of field testing!

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Drone Pilot Spotlight: 5 Fliers to Keep Your Eyes On

Asa Hammond, Niels Joubert, Nathan Schuett, and Zoe Stumbaugh. Photo by Hep SvadjaDrone flying is evolving very quickly: New technologies, new regulations, new applications. The 5 drone fliers tell us their predictions.

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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Come See the Elusive Strandbeest at Maker Faire!

strandbeest_heroThe Strandbeests have arrived in America. Don't miss the opportunity to see them at Maker Faire!

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Make:’s 2016 Guide to Grillin’ n’ Chillin’

grillGuide_5Embrace your inner caveperson with these great ideas for backyard grilling.

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Aerial Sports League Ramps Up for Maker Faire Bay Area

Aerial-6This year Aerial Sports League goes indoors with a TRON-inspired, quasi go-karting style course. See it in person at Maker Faire Bay Area.

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Why Hands-On Activities Are So Important (Plus a Few to Try at Maker Faire)

10wmfny-14_becca-henry__mg_3188 (1)Hands-on activities are an essential part of the Maker Faire experience. It's the best way to learn something new!

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The Spaceballs Winnebago Has Been Dronified

UOJboU5Our favorite Star Wars drone spaceship builder is at it again, this time with the best parody ship possible.

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R2-D2 Gets a Steampunk Makeover at Maker Faire Austin

DSC01357 (Medium)We got to talk to the amazing craftsman behind this steampunk R2-D2 to find out how it ticks... er, beep-boops.

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Meet Your Favorite Makers at the Maker Faire Show & Tell Stage This Weekend

JimmyGarethCome meet your favorite Makers at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend. Talks range from 3D printing to fire to Raspberry Pi (and more!).

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Broken Stuffed Animals Get “Surgery” to Teach Kids About Organ Donors

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.05.02 PMOf the 14,000 people in Japan who need transplants, 300 receive them each year. To inspire organ donors, Second Life Toys is using plushies.

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Build Rescue Bots Using Off the Shelf Parts

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 2.02.12 PMFor assessing risky situations in tight spaces, sometimes it's best to send a small robotic rover in ahead of you.

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National Week of Making (June 17-23)

whitehouse

An email announcement about the National Week of Making came through the LAIP inbox recently, and we want to spread the word! The Office of Science & Technology is promoting this White House initiative, and we wanted to share the following from OSTP’s Assistant Director of Making, Andrew Coy:

We are looking forward to having you join forces with us from June 17th through the 23rd and would love for as many others as possible get involved. Here are a few ways folks in the community are already active:

  • Posting a photo about the #NationOfMakers – lots of folks are already active online and there are even some community-created images created by Adam Bellow that can be found below.
  • Organizing an event and/or host an open house at your local school, library, rec center, makerspace or set up a hangout online to connect and share your inventions with Makers across the country. Some have posted their events on a community website such as weekofmaking.org
  • Volunteering to be a mentor for someone who is interested in learning a new skill or find a mentor who would be interested in teaching a new skill you’ve been wanting to learn for a while.
  • Organizing a maker roundtable, maker town hall, or maker tour to convene thought leaders and decision makers in your community. (An example of this is what Adam Savage did last week in Cleveland: http://bit.ly/1N3g6oB – which was organized by Adam’s team at Tested in collaboration with Lisa Camp from Case Western Reserve University and Sonya Prior-Jones of the Fab Foundation out of MIT – Adam is actually talking about it live today during a Reddit AMA you can follow here: redd.it/4hv3an)
  • Your idea here!

Stay updated at http://ift.tt/1sBdyF9 and follow the community conversation online at #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMaking.

We know there are SO many libraries out there who do amazing maker things (see just a few of them here on the LAIP!). We can’t wait to hear what you’re up to during the #WeekofMaking in June!



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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Why You’ll Love Participating in Maker Faire Bay Area on Social Media

aaah, that's better!Whether you’re able to make it to Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend or not (and if you can’t, we sympathize), you can still participate. We’ll be all up in your social mediaz, so come along for the ride! Here’s how to get in on the action, from the Faire […]

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Don’t Miss These Burning Man Art Installations at Maker Faire Bay Area

BMvsMF_heroI’ve been going to Burning Man for 15 years now. (Truth be told, I was working for Burning Man for 13 of them, including six as the Operations Manager for Burning Man’s art department.) And I’m here to tell ya — and I’m not just saying this because I work for […]

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STEM highlights from MLA Conference

Yesterday I attended the Massachusetts Library Association's Annual Conference in Hyannis, MA. It had an amazing selection of presenters. They talked about the many facets of librarianship from programming to reader's advisory with some STEM highlights:


Mattapoisett, Rochester, and Marion public libraries came together for a MOBY (My Own Backyard) LSTA grant. Librarians from all three librarians as well as a science curriculum educator collaborated to provide backpacks with science related activities for patrons to check out as well as programming to highlight each bag. This goes back to that theory that if no one knows about it, the greatest stuff could just sit on the shelves. A great tip I learned from another presentation is even if many people don't show up to a program, just highlighting the database or product that you want to promote as an event, say one on one with lynda.com tutorials, could increase use. Some people might not be able to make the event, life happens, but maybe they didn't know the library had the product in the first place.  This happened recently with a ukulele workshop that we did. I specifically did it to promote having ukulele's to check out at the library. If someone was interested in the event but couldn't come or didn't have a ukulele of their own, I made sure to promote our circulating ukuleles in all advertisements. They are never on the shelves!


Back to the MOBY bags, they included hands on tools, books, and a journal to record observations. Each library has a different set of kits from tapping maple syrup to tidepools kits for the beach. They have had great success with the backpacks (no losses of materials) with occasional washing of items upon return.  They are more than willing to share their information as long as you provide them credit. If you want to learn more check out their joint Facebook page.

Even if you don't have grant money, there are still some great ideas for circulating items in the kits to purchase. One item in a backpack that I hadn't heard of was sticklets. Sticklets are silicon adapters that encourage outdoor model creations using sticks. What an ingenious idea! Without having the backpacks, this is still a viable circulating item.   These would be great to have outside on the library lawn to encourage sculpture design this summer (if you are near many trees).

In the afternoon I attended a presentation on the 6 Principles of the Montessori Prepared Environment which fits nicely into STEM drop in programming or a re-design of the children's play area. Having small interactive displays or selecting STEM toys like magnets, scales, and magnifying glasses to have out in bins for free play encourages child directed learning. No signs prompting the parent required.  Chokeable? Leave it near the children's desk on a higher shelf.  It is all about beautifying your space and encouraging free play that stimulates social and intellectual skills.  We, as librarians, are already doing this! Will it be messy? Perhaps, I wouldn't put paint or sand out there unsupervised.  We also instituted a sticker reward for cleanup and it works well. What is the cost? Put some rocks or other free natural items with a scale (lakeshorelearning) and magnifying glass (cheap in bulk from oriental trading or buy more sturdy ones from lakeshore) surrounded by science books and watch the learning happen. Try to come up with at least a theme for your prepared environment but be prepared for the child to use it however they see fit.
The last thing I saw was a demo of a vinyl cutter from the Goodnow Library in Sudbury, MA.  It's not available for patron use yet, just programming because the librarians just got trained on it themselves. This would be a great addition to makerspace. Be warned the price tag is $2,000 but the results were impressive.  We finally got our Cameo Silhouette ($230) up and running cutting vinyl and other materials but it was a learning curve with getting proper blade pressure. If something comes out jagged, it doesn't look right and we end up re-cutting it anyway. With something this large, we could cut multiple vinyl stickers at once. We could have printed our own summer reading badges! I'd rather have a large size poster printer but it's worth adding to the dream library.

Thanks to all the wonderful presenters who volunteer their time to inspire and share with others!



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Meet Makers From the Department of Energy at Maker Faire

This is the inside of the world's largest and most powerful laser, which is used in experiments to create nuclear fusion. Examples of the laser's optics will be on display at the Make|ENERGY pavilion. Photo by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.At Maker Faire this weekend, come meet the Makers from the Department of Energy and the National Labs and talk with them about making our energy future much brighter.

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Teachers’ Tips for Getting the Most out of Maker Faire

teachersLoveMF_heroI find that teachers have that perfect combination of curiosity and urge to learn that makes them a great match for Maker Faire. And, trained by years of explaining the same thing in dozens of different ways, teachers are really good navigators of the novice. Every year I make sure I ask […]

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The Watchmakers Guild Was My Favorite Booth at Maker Faire Austin

DSC01348 (Medium)Watch and learn. The watchmakers guild at the recent Austin Maker Faire was definitely worth making time for.

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How to 3D Print on Tulle, Net, or Lace Fabrics

printing finishedYou can 3D Print directly onto fabrics for cool effects. You can do it too with this super simple project.

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