Tech center to open in Willis Library

Tech center to open in Willis Library

Tech center to open in Willis Library
October 20
23:59 2014

Steven James / Staff Writer

UNT Libraries will showcase its new technology space, The Factory, at a free kickoff event Oct. 27 from 2–5 p.m. in Willis 140.

Library dean Martin Halbert said adding The Factory is part of an initiative from libraries and organizations across the country to add “Makerspaces,” areas in learning communities such as libraries and community centers, which provide technological tools and equipment to help people get hands-on learning and complete projects.

Halbert said this initiative has been in progress for the past few years and has only recently come to academic libraries, as opposed to just being a part of public libraries. The Factory is UNT’s Makerspace, one of the first at a Texas university.

The Factory will be right behind The Forum on the first floor of Willis Library.

Students and faculty are welcome to attend the kickoff to ask questions and offer suggestions for what they would like to see added to library services and The Factory. People can follow @TheFactoryUNT on Twitter for updates and visit the UNT Libraries website.

The equipment that will be in The Factory includes computer parts and components, 3-D printers, large format printers, IT Launchpads, video and photography equipment and one Google Glass, according to the UNT Libraries website. With the exception of the 3-D and large format printers, everything will be available for checkout for seven days.

Halbert will open the kickoff with facilities network manager John Luetkemeyer, who will explain the functions of each piece of equipment.

Luetkemeyer said the equipment’s total cost was $8,000. He said some of the equipment was donated from Texas Instruments while the large format printer was transferred from the College of Visual Arts and Design after it got a new printer.

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Mechanical and electrical engineering major Ian Minatrea controls the manufacturing of 3D objects in The Factory yesterday afternoon.

“Our intention is to provide a space for students to be able to use services and products they might not otherwise have access to for research, creative purposes and to provide a space to work in together with others who have similar interests,” Luetkemeyer said. “We want to make The Factory support many different disciplines – from engineering to education, from biology to business and whatever other disciplines can find a use for this type of space.”

Halbert said there are spaces like this for UNT students and faculty in the College of Engineering and CVAD, but there are none open to all students and faculty.

“Some of the billboards around Dallas say that we’re the creative heart of Texas, and I absolutely agree with that,” Halbert said. “I see students here at UNT and faculty members that are fantastic at creating things, so we’re happy to do what we can to help support that.”

Halbert also said that the library is currently looking for employees to help work The Factory. Students interested in applying can do so on the library’s website.

“I don’t know if every student will need it, but I still think it’s a good idea for those who do,” media arts sophomore Zac Powell said. “I think it’ll be good to have that space being utilized for something like that.”

Featured Image: The MakerBot 3D printer works on making objects that are filaments melted down and then immediately cooled off to form the object. Photos by Adrian Warfield

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