standing Westerly Library

I’m interested in designing and making a necklace for my daughter.

I have a bunch of old family videos on VHS, but I only have a DVD player.

I want to hem my pants, but don’t have a sewing machine.

You may not think to come to the library with requests like this, but for Morgan, our new technology and innovation coordinator, they are an everyday occurrence. And what’s more: she CAN actually help with all of them, thanks to the fantastic equipment in our Makerspace, and the knowledge of our staff.

The concept of a Makerspace is still relatively new, and ours was introduced in 2016. If you’re not familiar, it’s more or less exactly what it sounds like: a place to make things. All makerspaces differ a bit, but they offer a variety of tools and technology that can be freely used by the public for creative purposes — tools that are not always easily accessible! In our Makerspace, you’ll find equipment to convert VHS to DVD, records and cassettes to digital formats, and a station for converting old slides or negatives to the computer. There are art supplies for painting, coloring, jewelry-making, and more. We have photo editing and CAD (computer-aided design) software, a sewing machine, and — our most popular piece of equipment — a laser cutter/engraver called the Glowforge. The latter has been used to create signs, engrave tile, make jewelry, and a whole range of awesome one-of-a-kind gifts that people have come up with. All of these are freely available, but we do suggest making an appointment with us, especially if you require staff support along the way.

While there are plenty of opportunities to work solo, the Makerspace is also a collaborative space, where you can learn from and with others. A Quilting Group, which is open to beginners and experts and everyone in-between, meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month. We also have a new Maker Club, which meets monthly and is open to all ages and abilities. At each meeting you are given a new challenge (like marble drops and mousetrap racers!), which you have a month to complete and bring back to the next meeting to demonstrate to the group. You can keep it simple, or go full Rube Goldberg! It’s great for current and retired engineers, as well as anyone interested in STEM and being creative with their hands.

If you haven’t yet visited our Makerspace, I urge you to swing through on your next visit to the library. From the front entrance, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to the computer lab, and through there you’ll see the large, glass doors, which will likely be open and waiting for you!

Top requested books

  • 1. “Spare” by Prince Harry
  • 2. “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus
  • 3. “A World of Curiosities” by Louise Penny
  • 4. “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver
  • 5. “Mad Honey” by Jodi Picoult
  • 6. “It Starts with Us” by Colleen Hoover
  • 7. “The Boys from Biloxi” by John Grisham
  • 8. “Our Missing Hearts” by Celeste Ng
  • 9. “I Will Find You” by Harlan Coben
  • 10. “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin

Top requested DVDs

  • 1. “Tár”
  • 2. “Ticket to Paradise”
  • 3. “The Menu”
  • 4. “The Banshees of Inisherin”
  • 5. “Till”
  • 6. “The Fabelmans”
  • 7. “The Woman King”
  • 8. “Black Adam”
  • 9. “Father of the Bride”
  • 10. “She Said”

This week

MONDAY — 2-4 p.m., Quilting Group – Bring your supplies and practice your crafting skills with others. We help with quilting, embroidery, felting, knitting, and crocheting; 4-4:30 p.m., Tween Graphic Novel Book Club – We’ll read and talk about some of our favorite graphic novels! This program is intended for ages 8-12; 5-7 p.m., Dungeon Master Mondays – Learn the ins and out of building and running a full D&D campaign. This program is for teens in grades 7-12.

TUESDAY — 1-4 p.m., Community Resource Advocate – Visit our volunteer Community Resource Advocate, who can help connect you with local services/resources; 4-5 p.m., Tabletop Tuesdays – Come to the castle and play an hour of various tabletop role-playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons! For ages 8-12, and snacks are provided; 4-5:30 p.m., Winter Dungeons and Dragons – A teen-led Dungeons & Dragons campaign! Registration is required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Club – The group meets on the 2nd floor of the library.

WEDNESDAY — 10-10:30 a.m., Family Storytime – Best for ages birth-11 years; 2-3:30 p.m., Virtual Tech Social – We meet on Zoom every Wednesday to address your tech questions. Preregistration is required. 5-6 p.m., Pride Club – Meet other LGBTQIA2+ teens and allies while enjoying snacks, playing games, and hanging out.

THURSDAY — 4-6 p.m., Teen Crafternoon – Join us for weekly crafting activities and snacks; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – Players of all skill levels are welcome; 6-7:30 p.m., Learn the Language of Ireland – An easy, introductory-level class perfect for beginners. This class is free, and held on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

FRIDAY — 9:30-10:30 a.m., Westerly Parents as Teachers – Join us for an hour of storytelling, activities and fun, with a focus on early literacy.

SATURDAY — 10:30-11:30 a.m., Zumba in the Library – Get moving with a free Zumba class in the Terrace Room; 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Family Yoga – Join us for some fun and gentle family yoga as we explore movement, breathing and mindfulness!

Cassie Skobrak is an adult services librarian at the Westerly Library & Wilcox Park.

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