The Studio Makerspace Opens at the Greenwood Public Library

Photographer: JWCreative.indy

They’re popping up everywhere these days, and now the Greenwood Library has one.

The Greenwood Public Library recently debuted a new makerspace in March in the building’s top floor, and traffic has been off the charts. The new space is called The Studio, and it offers two separate areas giving patrons a playground to create to their heart’s content.

Free to patrons, The Studio has one side with tools for projects more on the artsy side. You can find kits to explore art, make buttons, jewelry or leather projects, or use community equipment such as a loom, sewing machines and Cricut machines. You can also transfer your family photos, slides and videos (VHS, 8mm or Super 8mm) into DVD or digital format.  The other side of The Studio is full of audio-visual equipment where guests can make videos, podcasts and audio recordings.

The project was a little more than a year in the making. Emily Ellis, Assistant Director of the Greenwood Public Library, was the driving force behind The Studio. Emily and the GPL staff were inspired by other makerspaces when their strategic planning took them on field trips around the state and into Ohio.

“Some of the libraries had a much larger scale,” Ellis says. “There were endless possibilities, so we started by thinking big, knocking out what we didn’t want and figuring out how to adapt the rest to fit us.”

The library launched a fundraising program, and the transformation began last fall. Six months later, The Studio opened with a wildly successful grand opening event, drawing around 200 visitors.

“We didn’t know how much work was going to be involved until we were in the thick of the construction,” Ellis says. “We hoped The Studio would have a good response, but we didn’t know what to expect. Since we opened, we’ve been very busy.”

Once the luster of the newness wears, traffic may moderate, but for now, Ellis and the staff at the library are just glad to see it up and running.

“It’s great to see people of all ages coming in to make and create with our kits and equipment,” Ellis adds. “It’s also giving people who might not have the funds to invest in equipment access to materials free of charge.”

In the short time since opening, some popular favorites have already emerged.

“We’ve been getting lots of requests for the eight-millimeter to Super Eight-millimeter machine,” Ellis says. “We didn’t anticipate so many people would have 8mm or Super 8mm films they wanted to digitize. I’m also getting lots of questions and requests for the Cricut machine. People really love making their own die cuts. Kids love the Stop-motion animation kit which allows them to work together in groups to create animated movies.”

Director of Development Jane Weisenbach says that several community partners are interested in using the space including SCORE, the Greater Greenwood Arts Council, and Greenwood Schools who have students with senior projects or other assignments. A first “artist in residence”, a weaver, will be displaying their craft in the coming months so that guests can observe, ask questions and even try their hand at weaving. One small business owner came in to take higher quality photos in the photo booth, and another customized wine glasses with a logo using the Cricut. 

“The possibilities are endless, and we’ve truly enjoyed getting to know our patrons and the creativity they bring,” Ellis says. “Our goal is that the offerings in The Studio all link with our literacy-based collections in the library.”

As the uses for the equipment continue to evolve, The Studio will be refining its programs to adapt to the needs of patrons. The goal is for patrons to explore and learn how to use the equipment through tutorials both in print and online, although staff can help guide them. To provide more guidance, The Studio is considering offering classes, like sewing classes, and other programs for patrons who want more guidance.

Already in motion is a plan to involve some service-oriented teams in a collaboration project. The Studio may also provide volunteer and leadership opportunities for the library’s Teen Volunteer Corps. 

“This will be a great program for people to learn leadership skills,” Ellis says. “In the meantime, our summer programs are already set, and we’re making a wish list for grants and fundraising to cover costs of new programs and maintenance of the equipment.”

Come into The Studio and check out all the things you never knew you could make for free. Audio Visual equipment must be reserved up to two weeks in advance. No library card is necessary, and it’s open when the library is open – Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Library is closed Sundays.

The Studio at The Greenwood Public Library is located at 310 S. Meridian, in Greenwood. For more details, visit greenwoodlibrary.us/studio.