The library on the campus of Carl Sandburg College is filling up ahead of finals.

While some will be hitting the books, others are taking advantage of a new place to help them learn in a different way.

The college is among the latest places to add the concept of a makerspace. They can be found all across the country.

They opened it in October as a place for students and community members brainstorm ideas and then create.

“It’s fantastic to be able to allow students that room for creativity. Literally the room and also the tools, as many as we can provide them and just see what they can do with it and take ownership of their learning,” said Carl Sandburg College Coordinator of Library Instruction Claire Ehrlich.

It’s a collaborative workspace designed to give people equipment and tools that otherwise might no be easy to access.

While it’s a way to help students and community members learn on their own or in a group, organizers also told Local Four News, this is a place to make exploration possible. 

Carl Sandburg student Shamus McElhiney said, “It gives you the opportunity to come in and really get hands-on with some projects.”

From high tech…

McElhiney saiid, “The 3-D printers, the Laser cutter.”

To low tech.

McElhiney said, “I asked if they had some books I could destroy cause I wanted pages from books and book covers for another project I could use.”

The Carl Sandburg College Makerspace is now the preferred place for student Shamus McElhiney to get to work.

It’s designed for creation and collaboration by making use of existing resources.

Ehrlich said, “Create something out of a lot of stuff we’ve already had.”

But the library was looking for another way to gear up interests in these gadgets and tech that have been collecting some dust.

Ehrlich said, “Weren’t living up to the potential that we wanted them to live up to. They weren’t being utilized as much as we wanted them to be. We had this great space. We had a classroom that wasn’t getting used.”

By providing access to these materials, it’s also helping cash-strapped college students not have to worry about reaching into their wallet.

McElhiney said, “Best part is all the supplies they provide for you, cause you know like, it could be prohibitively expensive to buy all the paper and glue and all the stuff that I need.”

While what happens inside the room might be pieced together by imagination, it also providing professors with another way to benefit them in the classroom.

Carl Sandburg College Web Programmer Eric Thatcher said, “3-D prints for faculty members to kind of a hands-on, in class a lot of biology and chemistry.”

The room is also available to professors as a second classroom if needed for class projects. Students also see it as a place where everyone can pitch it. 

McElhiney said, “Everyone could have a tool in their hand and everyone can contribute together.”

The library told Local Four News, they’re able to pay for maintaining supplies in the room through their budget but as request look to expand offerings, they could look at grants to help cover costs.

Organizers also said this is a good opportunity for students to explore this technology and learn about it’s possibilities. 

The Makerspace is open during the library’s regular hours. 

To learn about all the space offers, visit their website