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Watertown officials want opinions on possible "Makerspace" activity workshop

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  September 12, 2013 04:33 PM

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Watertown officials are asking for public feedback on their creation of a "Makerspace," or a physical workshop intended for those who do activities with their hands like woodworking, sewing, and computer-building.

The survey, drafted by library officials and part of Watertown's comprehensive plan initiative, asks residents which activities they like the most and what technology or tools they'd like to see in a workshop.

Leone Cole, library director, said the initiative might start out as classes and "free time" in the library to partake in "maker" activities.

"It’s a place where you as an individual can take a class and learn to do those things, or you can book time and use the materials and tools there to do your own project on your own time," Cole said. "We're hoping that with our concept, you can do a little bit of both."

Cole said the library hopes to establish a permanent off-site facility for these activities, but added that the concept is still very fluid.

"We’re still trying to figure out where that space could be off-site," she said.

Cole said officials have been looking to other communities' workshops, noting that while some emphasize the digital aspect, others focus on arts-and-crafts type of activities.

"We would love something like a 3D printer, but we also want to have sewing machines and other things for more craft-based activities as well," she said.

The initiative has already garnered some buzz: locals who commented on the survey are already requesting cooking classes and poster-sized printing equipment. Commenters have even brainstormed on where the lab could be located; one suggested an old library branch.

However, Cole said she was not sure when Watertown could expect to see the "Makerspace" come to fruition.

"We want to take our time and do it right," she said. "We want to make sure the equipment and the classes are going to be the most popular among people in Watertown."

The library is also looking for donations, both monetary and equipment, for the lab. Officials also welcome any craft or computer experts that could teach free classes, Cole said.

For more information, visit the "Makerspace" survey or the Watertown library's website. Officials will also be collecting feedback at the Faire on the Square on Saturday, Sept. 28.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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