By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterNovember 30, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- It's said that necessity is the mother of invention, and the Fort Rucker Center Library is providing the space necessary for people on the installation to invent and innovate.
The center library will hold its Makers Fair Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. where it will showcase its new Makerspace program, which will be a monthly event where people will be able to create, in different modules, everything from paper crafting to 3D printing to even bicycle repair using tools provided by the library, according to John Crawford, center library supervisory librarian.
"Traditionally, makers spaces were developed by public libraries -- generally in urban areas -- for people who didn't have easy access to tools or the means of production for invention and innovation," said Crawford. "The idea was to let the library be something of a business and innovation incubator for members of the community who wouldn't necessarily get that opportunity -- that's the goal here. We invite people to come out and learn how to use the various materials, and see what might pique their interest and practice what they learn."
Although not yet a dedicated space, each month, a different module will be featured for the makers space and people will be able to take part and learn about that specific module, said the supervisory librarian.
"We've divided materials we've received into several different modules," he said. "We'll have an audio/visual module, so if people want to start learning how to do things like making a (video blog) or a podcast, or if they want to transfer their VCR tapes onto DVDs, so they can watch them again, we want to provide the tools so that people can do that and develop those skills."
The fair will be an introduction into the different modules and give people the chance to utilize the different tools that the library will provide. One of those modules includes 3D printing, which will utilize a virtual reality headset that people can wear to sculpt their creations before printing them out, said Crawford.
"The idea is to give people the tools to engage their innovative imagination, and then allow that to foster new ideas and new skills and new approaches to the community," he said.
Another module will feature bicycle repair and a workshop that will be led by a cycling enthusiast who can help people learn to make minor repairs, such as fixing chains or changing tires, said Cameron Hill, center library youth librarian.
"We have the stand and the tools for repair, so if you have the knowledge, we can offer that," she said.
The library will take its first foray into the makers space Dec. 1 with its Card Creation Workshop from 1:30-3:30 p.m. During the workshop, people will get the chance to let their artistic juices flow as they create cards for any occasion, said Hill.
The center will provide die cut machines and materials, and an expert from the Fort Rucker Arts and Crafts Center will be on hand to instruct people on how to craft their creations, she said. "They will show people how to enhance their projects when creating their Christmas cards, holiday cards or any kind of card," Hill said.
"Ahead of the holidays, people are sending out Christmas cards, so if they wanted to do something unique and handmade this year, we'd be a resource for that," added Crawford.
In the future, the center library is looking to partner with other organizations around the installation to be able to cater to more patrons for the makers space, said the supervisory librarian, but the goal of the program will remain the same -- to provide a creative outlet for people on Fort Rucker to develop their skills.
"Everything in the Army, in terms of what happens on a garrison, is about resilience," he said. "It's about developing the skills to handle hard times and to look for new solutions to things on the home front so that we'll be able to manage during times of hardship, and that's really what a makers space is for."
In addition to the kickoff of the Makerspace Program, the event will serve as the official kickoff event for the libraries Winter Reading Program, which will be a reading incentive program for parents and children to take part in throughout the season, said Jody Wilcox, center library reference librarian and assistant manager.
The program will feature events throughout the year to get children and parents interested in reading, as well as provide a logging system for participants to track minutes for a chance to win prizes at the end of the program season. Registration for the program will be Jan. 3-16 and is for individuals of all ages.
"(The Winter Reading Program) is something to encourage family time together," said Wilcox. "We'll have programs that moms, dads and kids can come in and work together on, so we're trying to create something that's broad enough for everyone to be able to participate in."
Creating programs like the makers space and the Winter Reading Program are just a few ways that the library is able to cater to an ever-changing community, and Crawford said it's part of their jobs as librarians to evolve, as well.
"We're doing this because the needs of the community are changing," he said. "It's the job of librarians to be a guide for people -- we're guiding them out into uncharted knowledge. That's fundamentally what we're here for -- to match the patron with their information -- and that need's never going to change."
For more information, call 255-3885.