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A child looks out from behind a structure she's building with modular robotic blocks

Maker + STEAM services

Our Maker + STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) services department offers technological and artistic resources to encourage creative thinking, innovation, exploration, creation, and problem solving. Check us out for access to 3D printing, digital design software, arts and crafts supplies, robotics, coding, photography, and more! We provide an open, welcoming space to gather, collaborate, and learn from library staff and from each other.

The goal of Maker + STEAM services is to empower a community of makers, encourage creation, and support people of all ages in their endeavors to grow as innovators.

Maker + STEAM spaces

While making and STEAM education can happen anywhere, Main Library features three dedicated spaces where you can explore and create: the Innovation Lab, a makerspace featuring equipment and tools available for patron use; the MakerLab, a space dedicated for Maker + STEAM programs; and the Recording Studio, a space for audio recording and editing. Each space offers technology, programs, and other resources to aid you in your innovative endeavors.

Innovation Lab open hours

Sorry, we're closed right now
Sunday Closed Monday Closed Tuesday 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM Wednesday 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM Thursday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Friday 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM Saturday 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
*Hours subject to change based on staff availability. To confirm hours for a given day, please call us at 919-560-9321 or check our event calendar.

Equipment

Here’s some of the technology we have – see each equipment link for more details:

3D printing

Create physical 3D models from digital files with printers that melt and extrude plastic layer-by-layer.

Cricut and Cameo / light-cutting machines

Do-it-yourself machines that cut a wide variety of lighter materials such as papers, vinyl, and fabric. Equipment availability coming soon!

Laser cutter / heavy-cutting machine

An easy-to-use machine that can cut, score, and/or engrave many different heavier materials such as wood, cardboard, and some plastics.

Poster printer

High-quality prints for all of your poster needs.

Sewing machine

A machine for all of your stitching, fixing, and fabric creation needs. Equipment availability coming soon!

Upcoming events

This Week In the Lab: Makedo Kit

Saturday, May 25, 2024 • 11:00am - 1:00pm

Main Library

Join the Maker + STEAM Team in the Innovation Lab during specified open hours to explore cardboard construction with makedo kits! Engineer new creations with reusable materials and tools safe for all ages. ...

Ages: Adult, Elementary School, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Senior Citizen, Teen, Toddler, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds, DPS

This Week In the Lab: Makedo Kit

Saturday, May 25, 2024 • 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Main Library

Join the Maker + STEAM Team in the Innovation Lab during specified open hours to explore cardboard construction with makedo kits! Engineer new creations with reusable materials and tools safe for all ages. ...

Ages: Adult, Elementary School, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Senior Citizen, Teen, Toddler, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds, DPS

This Week In the Lab: Button Making

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 • 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Main Library

Join the STEAM Team in the Innovation Lab during specified open hours to explore Button Making!...

Ages: Adult, Elementary School, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Senior Citizen, Teen, Toddler, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds, DPS

This Week In the Lab: Button Making

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 • 3:00pm - 6:00pm

Main Library

Join the STEAM Team in the Innovation Lab during specified open hours to explore Button Making!...

Ages: Adult, Elementary School, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Senior Citizen, Teen, Toddler, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds, DPS

Microcontroller Basics: Automated Watering System

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 • 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Main Library (Innovation Lab)

Join the Maker+STEAM Team to learn the basics of electronics! Learn how to build a circuit, program an arduino and develop your own feedback loops in order to create an automated plant watering device!...

Ages: Adult, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Middle School, Teen

Registration full. Join the waitlist >

This Week In the Lab: Button Making

Thursday, May 30, 2024 • 10:00am - 2:00pm

Main Library

Join the STEAM Team in the Innovation Lab during specified open hours to explore Button Making!...

Ages: Adult, Elementary School, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Senior Citizen, Teen, Toddler, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds, DPS

This Week In the Lab: Button Making

Friday, May 31, 2024 • 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Main Library

Join the STEAM Team in the Innovation Lab during specified open hours to explore Button Making!...

Ages: Adult, Elementary School, Emerging Adult: 18-24 Year Olds, High School, Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Senior Citizen, Teen, Toddler, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds, DPS

Ready, Set, Game Time: Bingo

Friday, May 31, 2024 • 4:30pm - 5:00pm

East Regional Library (East Regional - Children's Programming Room)

Come out and enjoy a few rounds of this classic table game of bingo! The whole family can join in! It will be the perfect time to meet & greet and, of course, have a little friendly competition!

Ages: Intergenerational, Kindergarten, Middle School, Pre-School, Tweens: 9-12 Year Olds

Registration required

Check for more events like this > or See all events

FAQ

Why is the library offering these Maker + STEAM services?
The library has always been a collective resource for our community by offering different types of services and technologies. From the days of typewriters to the first laser printers, public copiers, and internet computers, libraries have been the place where many members of the community are introduced to new technology. Providing access to maker and STEAM/STEM technologies continues our long-standing commitment to bridging the digital divide.

How much will it cost to use these services?
Check the details for the equipment listed above for exact pricing.

Can you help me design a project?
We’re happy to show you our trainings and the basics of the equipment, and to direct you to online resources, but we will not be able to design your project for you. The true idea of our space is to work together with like-minded community members to learn new skills.

What if my project doesn’t come out the way I wanted it?
We will work with you to determine the best resolution for your project. We can’t guarantee how your project will turn out, however. You are responsible for all costs associated with using the equipment or materials.

History of Maker + STEAM services at Durham County Library

We’ve been providing maker programming since 2014! It all started with the purchase of our first Makerbot Replicator, supported by monthly programs for community members to come learn and explore. Over the next few years, our STEAM programming grew in popularity and availability thanks to grant funding from Duke Energy and from the State Library of North Carolina through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). In our first LSTA funding year, we held over 200 STEAM-based programs for youth, with fun topics including LEGO robotics, coding with Scratch, and workshops on 3D printing, just to name a few.

The first dedicated MakerLab @ Main opened in June 2016, also thanks to our LSTA funding. When Main Library closed for renovation in January 2017, maker programming for all ages continued in a temporary space at Northgate Mall.

Now, with the transformed Main Library, what started out as one 3D printer in the computer lab has become a full-fledged Maker + STEAM department, two makerspaces and a Recording Studio, and excited library staff dedicated to providing world-class maker and STEAM programming and resources!

Did you know?

  • Our First Library in Space project engaged the community in a STEAM adventure by building a small capsule and attaching it to a weather balloon that carried it into near space. Teens at each of our locations competed to have their capsule design selected. The community followed along with the launch through real-time GPS tracking on our website. The library was recognized as a 2014 Top Innovator by the Urban Library Council for the project.
  • In 2019, the library hosted a four-week, theme-based STEAM Off program geared towards low-income middle school students as part of the Urban Library Council’s Partners for Middle School STEM initiative. Participants developed their maker skills with access to programming and technology like robotics, electronic piano keyboards, and engine-powered rockets.
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff 3D printed and laser cut over 280 face shields for Durham County first responders.
  • While our spaces were closed due to COVID-19, the STEAM team made cool Take & Make STEAM activity packets to pick up and use at home. One included materials to make a robot toothbrush and then use your new bot to create abstract art. Another had a tangram puzzle set, with pieces made on our 3D printers and an accompanying packet with links to the designs.

Meet the Maker + STEAM team

Questions? Contact us at Maker_STEAM@dconc.gov.

STEAM team member Caroline

Caroline

Caroline has loved libraries since she could read, and she loves incorporating science, health, and arts into accessible and creative programs. She loves reading most genres, especially middle grade and young adult, fiction with hints of magic, novels in verse, humanities nonfiction, and graphic novels. She graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology from UNCG and is currently in their graduate program for Library and Information Science. When not at the library, Caroline loves spending time with her kids (who love to read, too!) and her favorite people, reading, hiking, walking, running, music, and our NC mountains.

Pronouns: she/her

STEAM Services assistant Doe

Doe

Doe is one of the office assistants for the Maker + STEAM Unit at Durham County Library. He is a second-generation Korean-American, having earned his degree in Philosophy with distinctions from North Carolina State University. Aside from working part-time at the library, Doe also works as a professional freelance illustrator, having done commissions for clientele such as Penguin Random House. He hopes to bring his knowledge and passion in the arts to the Maker + STEAM Unit! Some hobbies include archery, hiking, and running a disastrous DND campaign.

Pronouns: he/him

STEAM team member Kyle

Kyle

Kyle grew up with a love of anything mechanical, working on cars and bicycles from a very young age. Before joining the team at the library, he taught STEAM classes to students in Nashville and New York City. Kyle has a love of 3D modeling and printing, and as a part of the Maker + STEAM Unit he hopes to bring his experience to the patrons of the library. His favorite genre is science fiction, with a particular affinity for any story set in the vast expanse of space. Outside of the library, Kyle enjoys working on his car, riding his bicycle, or learning new tricks with his yo-yo. If you see him around, ask him to show you a trick!

Pronouns: he/they