Heather McIntyre/Metro CDs, DVDs and video games have been moved from what used to be the audio-visual room on the main level of the Stanley A. Milner EPL branch downtown, where renovations began Friday on the Makerspace.

Libraries are a place to learn, create, play, collaborate and discover, and the Edmonton Public Library is taking the next step by providing a hands-on, interactive digital opportunity for its visitors.

Called a Makerspace, an area complete with 3D printers, an Espresso Book Machine, specialized high-end computers, digital conversion software, a gaming area, sound recording equipment, a green screen, and a ceiling mounted projector and sound system is pegged to open in the Stanley A. Milner branch downtown come mid-September.

These types of spaces have been popping up in libraries throughout the U.S., and it “seems like it’s this sort of natural fit,” said Pam Ryan, EPL’s director of collections and technology.

“It’s a public space for people to come and do 21st Century things in,” she said.

Other aspects of the Makerspace will include robotics and microcomputing kits, as well as entry level circuitry for programming.

“It’s the sort of things that (aren’t) always accessible to people,” said digital literacy librarian Jason Harris.

EPL is also partnering with groups such as iHuman, StartUp Edmonton and the U of A Computing Science department for programming, content, volunteer opportunities and more, while the Makerspace-tested programs and technologies will likely spread to other branches and the anticipated digital literacy vans.

Name the Makerspace

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