For my X4-Professional Practices assignment I attended the Maker Expo: See & Do at the Eugene Public Library. The Eugene Makers is a non-profit community focused on introducing technology, science, art, and culture to everyone ages 1 to 101. Really, they want to include everyone, and they want to build an environment where like minds come together to collaborate and contribute. They have a home base in the warehouse district in West Eugene, and every Tuesday and Friday from 6pm to 8pm they host an “Open Hack” night where anyone can bring a project to work on or share.
When I attended the free expo at the library I had no idea what to expect. First of all, I had my 4 and 1 year old with me, and you never to know what you are getting into with them tagging along. Most the time it is great, however, a change in the wind direction can cause unprovoked fits of terror. After walking into the conference room, I could not believe what I saw. There was a 3-D printer, green screen photo booth, synthesizer, embroidery machine, littleBits customizable electronics, wood working tools, robots, and so much more. My 4 year old immediately spotted the Eggbot art robot and asked if we could get one to decorate our Easter eggs this year. It was super cool, but for $195 I told her we would be decorating our eggs the old fashioned way.
Honestly, at this point I could not believe I had never heard of these people before, especially as a multi-media major. They offer so many resources for learning and networking and it’s all FREE. Not only do they have the main home base in West Eugene, coming spring 2016 the Eugene Public Library will offer Maker Hub rooms with access to a digital lab with state of the art audio, video, design equipment and software, and all you need is a library card. How cool is that?
Unfortunately, I did not get to speak long enough to any one person representing the Maker’s due to chasing around little ones, however, I did not need to. The conversations I did join in and picked up on made it clear that this fantastically diverse group of people came from all walks of life. Students, professionals and hobbyists, all innovators and creatives wanting to contribute and expand their own knowledge. They are a wealth of information and very friendly and interested in your thoughts and ideas. I never once felt out of place, even with the kiddos running around. In fact there was so much going on, the girls were having a great time. The “Makers” had something for everyone, even my 1 year old was encouraged to be hands on with the robots. I look forward to visiting their main headquarters soon and can’t wait for the new facilities to open at the library this spring. I highly recommend anyone in the Multi Media field to check them out and make some time in your schedule to pay a visit.