December 15, 2011

Hackerspaces in Public Libraries

Dennis O'Donnell

NPR recently wrote an article about hackerspaces finding their way into local public libraries, which could prove to be one of the most empowering moves for the youth in those areas. If you’re wondering what a hackerspace is – it’s a simple new concept in education/business/society that has recently exploded onto the scene; they are public or membership-based workshops that give people access to costly or otherwise inaccessible equipment, purely for the sake of learning and fostering creativity. Common equipment found in a hackerspace would be a 3D printer, metalworking tools, CNC routers, 3D scanners, computers with software costing tens of thousands of dollars, etc. We’re big fans of these places – we use them here at Clear-Coat as outsourced R&D labs to develop efficient new manufacturing methods, new cell phone accessories, and cool new packaging.

This article struck a chord with me, though – today I see the youth bored with education, textbooks, and the classroom. Admittedly, I was bored in school as a teenager. But no teen would be bored operating a TIG welder, or learning Rhino 3D software, or building their own LED circuit board! And this kind of tinkering behavior is exactly what lead to the visionaries of our time: the Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates’s of our generation. If you’ve never heard their stories, all three of these founders would spend hours before and after school tinkering with circuit boards (the Steve’s), or borrowing time at a local university messing with code (Bill) – it’s what enabled them to innovate.

The NPR article is a great read, and what’s even better is to see some public libraries evolving to keep today’s youth interested – here is the article for you to enjoy:

Join in on #MobileOutfitters

Follow @mobileoutfitters on Instagram to see what we are up to and tag your own #mobileoutfitters adventures.