Local News: Innovation Studio ready to help unleash creativity (4/16/21) – McCook Daily Gazette


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Lorri Sughroue/McCook Gazette

McCOOK, Neb. — All systems are go at the Innovation Studio at the McCook City Library.

Postponed from last year due to the pandemic, state-of-the-art technology tools will be available to the public in the library’s basement. This includes a 3-D printer, laser cutter, embroidery/sewing machine, camera/video green screen kit, Lego robotics kit and more. “These machines allow the community to experience technology they can’t get anywhere else,” said Jodi Crocker, library director.

Those who would like to try it out must first make an appointment with a trainer for the first session, Crocker, said. After the person or student masters the machine, they can come and use it whenever available.

Innovation Studio allows the community to experience technology they can’t get anywhere else, Crocker said.

The computer-based machines allow the creation of multiple items from original designs, including engraved glass and wood, 3-D figures, printed T-shirts, bookmarks, coasters, pins, and embroidery designs. A Makey Makey invention kit, for instance, can be used to turn a banana into a piano.

To make an appointment, call the library at (308)345-1906. Staff trainers include Tracy Kennedy, Kristen Henderson and Diane Lyons. Volunteer trainers are Mary Dueland, Staci Blomstedt, Sharon Bohling, Todd Weimer, Michele Weimer and Max Weimer.

The machines can be used at no cost. Users may bring their own T-shirts if they qualify for use. T-shirts are available at a very reasonable cost to purchase, Crocker said.

Other products are free of charge to use, such as glass mugs, wooden coasters and more.

At this time, masks will be required. The equipment will be at the library until at least mid-July. Crocker said the Birdella Nelson Technology Center may decide to purchase a few technology machines as a permanent investment if the public shows interest in a particular piece.

The Nebraska Library Innovation Studios: Transforming Rural Communities project is made possible by a National Leadership grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is also supported by the Nebraska Library Commission, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska Innovative Studio, Nebraska Extension and the Regional Library Systems. The total grant was $715,732 with a completion date of July 2021.

The project was designed to use marker spaces, installed at public libraries, to support community engagement and participatory learning experiences by providing access to technological and innovative learning tools not readily accessible locally.

Equipment and machines available at the McCook City Library include:

-- Laser cutter

-- CNC Router

-- Embroidery/sewing machine

-- 3D printer

-- Vinyl cutter

-- Audio/music recording kit

-- Camera/video green screen kit

-- Heat press

-- Sublimation and pigment ink printers

-- Sparkfun kit

-- Arduino starter kit

-- Lego Mindstorms robotics kit

-- Makey Makey

-- Laminator/label maker

-- Button maker/Craft metal punch

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