Jacksonville Public Library was named ‘2017 Library of the Year’ by the Florida Library Association, and for good reason. The library itself is stunning with four floors with high ceilings and natural light, all set apart by different themes. One floor has an enormous reading room, covered in murals. Another floor is home to the Lewis Ansbacher Map Collection where you can read and study in a room covered in the maps of the collection (it’s amazing, take a virtual tour here). The other floors offer a variety of things like a Small Business Center, Adult Learning Center, every book you could imagine and so much more. One of the most defining features of our library is something that you can’t find at your average library – Jax Makerspace.
Jax Makerspace is a collaborative and creative space for artists, musicians, hobbyists, techies, writers and creatives alike. The goal is to welcome these creators in and allow them to explore, meet new people, create and to give them resources that they might not be able to find elsewhere. Equipped with things like a 3D printer, gallery space, crafting materials and more, it is a great place for inspiration and creation.
Here are just a few things currently available and on display at the Jax Makerspace.
The Gallery Space is Jax Makerspace’s “claim to fame”. It is something you would expect to find next-door at MOCA. It’s a large, open space with professional lighting and over a dozen creations on display at any time. The gallery has rotating exhibits, opening a new one every few months. The exhibits that have been displayed have been about so much more than just visual art, they are meant to be conversation starters on bigger issues. For example, “KESHA: A Black Female Experience of Identity and Race” was the first collection on display, exploring black femininity, ethnicity, identity, and stereotypes. “Survive To Thrive: Life Beyond Sexual Violence” is currently on display and will be until October 22. The library hosts several events centered around each exhibit, like panel discussions with the artists, workshops and performances. The Gallery Space has its own events calendar, you can check it out here.
The library recently added a 3D printer to the Makerspace that is available to “rent out”. You can submit projects to be 3D printed and most of them only cost $1 – $3. Find out how to submit a project to be printed here. Don’t know how to create a 3D printing project? The library has a class for that!
Ever wanted to play news anchor, take a selfie “in space” or put yourself in the scene of your favorite movie? That requires a green screen, which most people don’t have regular access to. We’re lucky enough to have a full sized one in the Makerspace! Open to anyone and everyone, all you need is a smart phone. Just follow the directions that they have posted on the wall to create your masterpiece.
Just to the left of the green screen is a large magnetic black board covered in words and letters to be arranged into poems. It’s a great way to teach the kiddos how to rhyme, an entertaining study or reading break, and a simple way to get creative juices flowing!