Atlantic City's library has plenty of "how-to" books. Soon it will also have equipment to help patrons create things themselves.
The library is one of 15 statewide to receive a Makerspaces grant from the the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ, the New Jersey Library Cooperative. The Atlantic City library will receive $7,500.
"Makerspaces" is a national movement to create community centers that give individuals access to equipment and education they could not get on their own.
The spaces can be a group of individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, or nonprofit corporations, schools and libraries.
The Atlantic City Makerspace will be located in the teen lounge, but the equipment will also be made available to the general public for special events, teen services coordinator Megan England said..
"It will be a hands-on environment with tools or technology that students would not normally have access to," England said.
The library is contributing funds for supplies, and the space will include digital music production, graphics and video game design software, robotics, and a sewing machine.
"Some of the teens are already really excited about the sewing machine," England said.
She said the program is open to anyone with an Atlantic County library card. Teens must get their parents' permission to participate and will have to take a training class before getting access to the equipment.
England said teens are the main focus, but she would also like to get members of the community involved in sharing their talents.
The space is expected to open during American Library Week starting April 14, which England said is also spring break week for Atlantic City schools, so she is hoping for good attendance.
Mary Chute, state librarian, said the Makerspaces are an extension of the library's mission as a place of lifelong learning and community engagement. Recipients of the $115,000 awarded in the project included public, school and college libraries.
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