Learn new activities with the Makers Academy

At the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County’s main branch, participants can create potpourri sachets filled with lavender. Photo by Jessica Stamp / The Jambar

By Jessica Stamp

Laser engraving, 3D printing and sewing are some of the free activities offered by the Makers Academy hosted by the main branch at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and Michael Kusalaba Library. 

This month at the DIY Space in the main library, the librarians are featuring the use of an iron to create a no-sew potpourri sachet filled with lavender. 

At the MakersSpace in the Michael Kusalaba Library, the librarians are featuring the laser engraver. Each location will spotlight a different activity every month for the community to participate in.

Lindsay Platt, supervisor at the Michael Kusalaba Library, said the libraries wanted to offer an assortment of crafts for the community to try with the array of equipment each library provides. 

“[The libraries] did two different projects because … a lot of the equipment is different,” Platt said. “Some is the same but most [are] different, but we also wanted to have some variety and hit on some different interests of different people.” 

The libraries put together these activities to increase more community involvement and allow people to learn something new. Tracy Harris, the children’s youth librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, said it offers something to the public. 

“We’d like to show basic skills to get people to come in to know that we have something simple that the public can use,” Harris said.

Erin Phemester, chief experience officer at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, said it’s nice to have people be able to take their craft home.

Phemester also said the librarians wanted to help people to not be intimidated by the equipment the libraries have through the Makers Academy.

“[Michael Kusalaba Library suggested] looking at the pieces of equipment that people were interested in using, maybe a little bit intimidated by,” Phemester said. “By putting [the Makers Academy] together, it would help people to kind of figure out those pieces that were a challenge.” 

Harris said the library has received positive feedback from those that participated in the Makers Academy.

“Our response has been amazing. One day we had four in one day which is amazing because that’s four one-on-one sessions and that was pretty awesome,” Harris said. “We’ve been really full and busy … we have more [coming in] everyday.”

People can stop in by appointment or come by with their library card. 

For February, the main library will feature a laminator and the Michael Kusalaba Library will highlight audio conversion.

Any age can participate and will receive a card to get hole punched at the end of completing the craft. After 10 hole punches, the person will win a prize. 

If interested in the Makers Academy, visit the libraries’ website at libraryvisit.org or call (330) 744-8636.