Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Old Bridge Public Library Awarded Contract to Build Idea Farm Makerspace

Library expands from learning to making

The Old Bridge Public Library has been awarded a $10,000 contract from the New Jersey State Library. This award will fund the Old Bridge Library Idea Farm – a technology workshop and demonstration garden following the “makerspace” model.  Thirty-eight libraries applied for contract awards ranging from $3,750 to $12,500. The Old Bridge Library Idea Farm is scheduled to open in late April.

The Old Bridge Library Idea Farm will focus on three areas determined by survey feedback from the Old Bridge community: handicrafts, emergent technologies, and self-sustainability via garden and kitchen skills. The Old Bridge Library Idea Farm is part of the recent Makerspace movement in public libraries. Makerspaces embrace creation-focused learning that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, art, and math skills. “The contemporary Makerspace movement is really about creating community spaces where people can learn by doing and engage in exploration and creativity using digital and analog technologies. Such spaces can both enrich and empower library users’ lives,” said Mary Chute, NJ State Librarian. “It’s an extension of the library’s mission – a place of lifelong learning and community engagement …”
The Idea Farm workshop will be an open community area and tool collection for individual and group projects. This workshop will house a 3-D printer, vinyl cutter, soldering station, sewing machine station, programmable microcontrollers, Lego Robotics kits and more.
The Idea Farm demonstration garden will let community members connect with the full life cycle of a vegetable garden, from seed to plant to plate. With guidance and expertise from the Rutgers Master Gardeners, Old Bridge Public Library will house a garden grown and cared for by community volunteers. Workshops and seminars focusing on the garden will teach patrons how to grow fresh produce and herbs regardless of their living space.  Produce grown in the Idea Farm demonstration garden will be used in Kitchen Arts workshops that will demonstrate core kitchen skills such as pickling, dehydration, and herbal oil infusion
Both the workshop and the demonstration garden will be supported by book collections, workshops, and informational programs. At the end of this year long contract, the Old Bridge Library Idea Farm plans to release its first e-book:  a community cookbook featuring recipes from Old Bridge residents.
The Old Bridge Idea Farm will only be as vital and useful as its community. Those with skills they wish to share are encouraged to be part of this community workshop as mentors. Contact Library Director Darren Miguez at 732.721.5600 ext.  5042, or email dmiguez@oldbridgelibrary.org to get involved. To keep up to date with the development and launch of the Idea Farm, members of the public may join the library’s Idea Farm newsletter. Funding for this Makerspace Initiative is provided by the New Jersey State Library and by LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, whose services are funded by the New Jersey State Library, which is responsible for the coordination, promotion and funding of the New Jersey Library network. Additional financial support for the Old Bridge Library Idea Farm is provided by The Friends of The Old Bridge Library.

Send comments to: OBPL