North Texas Daily

UNT Libraries host makerspace kickoff for students and faculty

UNT Libraries host makerspace kickoff for students and faculty

October 28
19:16 2014

Steven James / Staff Writer

Nearly 60 people attended UNT Libraries’ The Factory Kickoff Event in Willis 140, which showcased new technological equipment for students and faculty Monday afternoon.

People were allowed to come into The Forum and walk around the tables, which featured different types of equipment that will be available for use in The Factory. Libraries employees sat at the tables and explained the equipments’ functions.

The Factory is UNT’s makerspace, which provides educational tools and equipment to help people get hands-on learning and complete projects. The Factory is right behind The Forum on the first floor of Willis Library.

Makerspaces have been installed in libraries around the U.S., but The Factory is the first makerspace at a Texas university library, library dean Martin Halbert said.

“I think that libraries have always been a space for learning and creative collaboration,” Halbert said. “Makerspaces are the newest kinds of facilities that libraries can provide for their students’ purposes.”

At the kickoff were Makey Makey circuits, chains, gears and a globe, all printed from a MakerBot 3-D printer from PLA filament, a biodegradable material that can twist without curling, making it a good material for 3-D printing.

Other equipment in The Factory currently available for checkout includes IT Launchpads, large format printers, video and photography equipment and one Google Glass, which can be checked out for three days, according to the UNT Libraries website. With the exception of the 3-D and large format printers, the rest of the equipment is available for checkout for seven days.

Halbert gave opening remarks after which network manager John Luetkemeyer, who is in charge of the project, gave a presentation about The Factory, listing the equipment and thanking everybody who helped with the creation of The Factory.

The total cost of the equipment was $8,000. Texas Instruments made donations and the College of Visual Arts and Design gave up its old 3-D printer after the college received a new one.

Luetkemeyer said he hopes The Factory will help develop more collaboration between UNT’s individual colleges, resulting in a more cooperative and creative environment for UNT’s academic disciplines.

“Aside from just having stuff here that’s fun for people to play with and to tinker with stuff, we also wanted to support classes and project for students and faculty,” Luetkemeyer said. “We’re hoping that we can get enough support from the student community and the faculty community to expand our resources so that we can offer more resources in the future.”

Several student employees from The Factory were there, helping explain the functions of each piece of equipment to people who visited the tables.

“Something that we want people to notice is that they don’t always have to make their own models,” makerspace technician Dakota Johnson said. “There’s plenty of models that can be found online. People can ask us questions about service and make requests.”

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