Vermont Libraries and Makers: Spark a Culture of Innovation

In 2014, the Vermont Community Foundation's Innovations and Collaborations grant program awarded a grant to the Craftsbury Public Library to develop innovative scientific programs, train science educators, and bring these programs to libraries around the state. As a result, children (and many of their adults) in 15 communities visited their libraries to learn, make, and play as part of "Vermont Libraries and Makers: Spark a Culture of Innovation," a series of hands-on programs encouraging projects that blend the arts, sciences, and technology.

The grant, the brainchild of Susan O'Connell, director of the Craftsbury Public Library, provided each library with complete programs -- instructors, materials, and curriculum -- in support of the 2014 summer reading program theme: science. The libraries hosted two events each, chosen from:

  • Creative Creatures
  • E-Origami
  • E-textiles
  • Squishy Circuits
  • Toy Hacking

The 15 libraries selected were Aldrich Public Library (Barre); Bennington Free Library; Castleton Free Library; Charlotte Library; Craftsbury Public Library; Fairfax Community Library; Groton Free Public Library; Jericho Town Library/Deborah Rawson Memorial Library (Underhill); Poultney Public Library; Quechee Public Library; Arvin A. Brown Public Library (Richford); Warren Public Library; Westford Public Library; and Dorothy Alling Memorial Library (Williston).

Organizations which provided support to the Craftsbury Public Library grant project are: the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Public Library Foundation, Vermont Makers, the Champlain Maker Faire, and the Vermont Library Association. Additional funding for the programs came from the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

In 2015, the Vermont Community Foundation invited the Craftsbury Public Library to apply for a second year of funding.  Another successful grant written, 10 additional libraries will host programs in the coming months. The libraries are:  Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro; Fletcher Free Library, Burlington; Greensboro Free Library; Middletown Springs Public Library; Milton Public Library; John G. McCullough Free Library, North Bennington; Orwell Free Library; Kimball Public Library, Randolph; Baxter Memorial Library, Sharon; and Waterbury Public Library.

Organizations which provided support to the Craftsbury Public Library's second year grant project are: the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Public Library Foundation, the Champlain Maker Faire, and the Vermont Library Association.

If you'd like to offer these programs in your library, feel free to download the curricula below.

Program Descriptions (Updated Curricula for 2015!)

Creative Creatures

Using recycled plastic, solar batteries, LEDs, and some instruction in circuitry, use the sun to light up your creations!

Creative Creatures Module

E-Origami

Make your greeting cards light up! Hack your notebook! Make your origami blink! Learn how to build circuits using paper, copper tape LEDs and a battery. 

E-Origami Module
E-Origami Handout 
     

E-textiles

Once you've learned some basic circuitry and how to embed LEDs into fabric using conductive thread, your wardrobe will never be the same!

E-textiles Module
E-textiles Handout

 

       

Squishy Circuits

Conductive play dough + LEDs + batteries = light-up sculptures! 

Squishy Circuits Module

              

Toy Hacking

Taking apart toys and seeing how they work is a great way to learn about circuits! After you learn about inputs and outputs, power and sensors, you can remake your toy into something new!

Toy Hacking Module

     

       

Thank you!