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March 31, 2014 – The Caldwell University Creation Station opened in the Jennings Library last week. The Creation Station is part of “New Jersey Library Makerspaces – The Leading Edge,” an initiative that combines equipment with community-driven innovation, to develop creative laboratories where New Jersey residents will be able to share resources and knowledge, collaborate on projects, network and build things. The New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ, the New Jersey Library Cooperative, subsidized 15 Makerspaces at libraries statewide. The Jennings Library at Caldwell University was one of two academic libraries awarded the funding—the other was the Rutgers University Libraries.

“The contemporary Makerspace movement is really about creating community spaces where people can learn by doing and engage in exploration and creativity using digital and analog technologies. Such spaces can both enrich and empower library users’ lives,” said Mary Chute, NJ State Librarian. “It’s an extension of the library’s mission – a place of lifelong learning and community engagement – be it public, academic, school, medical or other type of library.”

The Caldwell University Creation Station is equipped with a Makerbot Replicator (5th Generation) 3-D printer, a Makerbot Digital Scanner and handheld Sense Scanners and will focus on educational uses of 3-D printing, including the needs of visually impaired and kinesthetic learners. “A primary goal of the Creation Station is to move 3-D printing from the latest fad to a transformative tool that increases student engagement and fosters authentic learning across educational sectors,” said Dr. Nancy Becker, Executive Director of the Jennings Library.

Demonstrations, workshops and continuing education courses will be offered, allowing College faculty and area K-12 educators the opportunity to brainstorm, share ideas and create 3-D objects for their own classrooms. The first 3D Printing Workshop for K-12 teachers was held on Friday, April 4. Students participating in Summer College at Caldwell will produce a 3D printed object to support their STEM research projects.

Funding for this Makerspace Initiative is provided by the New Jersey State Library and by LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, whose services are funded by the New Jersey State Library, which is responsible for the coordination, promotion, and funding of the New Jersey Library Network. Funding was also made available through a College Access Challenge Grant – Aim High Academy 2014 Contract.