“We should all be more like Alex. Imagine what the world would look like if we were. Imagine the suffering we could ease and the lives we could save.” President Barack Obama
There’s a lot going on – in our world and in the world at large. We’ve been too busy with work to actually take time to talk about work, about the community enhancing spaces we help libraries and others bring to residents, about festivals that celebrate the creative spirit and bring together mentors in the service of helping youth become caring, self-reliant and capable adults.
At the heart of everything we do is a driving desire to help people retain the child’s native spirit of curiosity, innovation and compassion. Children aren’t born hating. They don’t see race or judge one another on abilities or disabilities. They – we – are born explorers, unafraid of trying new things, of reaching out to one another with a helping hand.
Children don’t start wars. Adults who lost the vision and wonder of youth do.
2015 was an amazing year for us here at Eureka! Factory, a year of self-realization and creative exploration, the year we learned we could make a living doing what we love, together, in the service of the common good.
From the 2014 ashes of disappointment following the experiences of bad collaborations and commensurate corporate losses, we learned that playing the long game, and staying true to your personal mission and goals is also a solid and enduring business plan. The Eureka! Factory has been an epiphany befitting its name – a year long celebration of the inventive spirit for us, our collaborative partners, our clients and our communities.
We love walking the Maker talk, and are grateful that we live in a place as forward looking, supportive and small business-friendly as Hillsborough County, with community partners who make all our programs and events a joy to produce.
So here, in the first days of 2016, we hope you’ll enjoy this look back at some of our favorite moments in 2015, and a look ahead to some of the exciting things we’ve got on tap for the new year!
The Land O’Lakes Branch Library threw an appropriately grand party December 17, celebrating the Grand Opening of the Foundry, Pasco County’s first library makerspace. The event was well attended by Pasco County government leaders, Economic Development Council representatives, members of the Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Library, local business leaders, and patrons, all proud to cut the ribbon for this small space making enormous impact.
“Impact is never about knowing all the steps ahead, but about taking one intentional step after the other.” ― Bidemi Mark-Mordi
We had a wonderful time last week, at the first ever Library MakerFest. Hosted by the Tampa Bay Library Consortium and Novare Library Services, the event brought together nearly 20 libraries from around the state of Florida, and a half dozen vendors, including Eureka! Factory. The goal of the event was to give libraries an opportunity to learn more about the growing movement to bring more makerspaces to more libraries, and dozens of librarians visited to get up to speed on the idea.
One of the things we’ve noticed is, as with any great movement, there’s a lot of interest in creating makerspaces in libraries inspired by success stories of existing spaces, but some confusion by newcomers about just how to go about doing that and sometimes why to do it at all. School and public library librarians are finding themselves with new collections among the stacks, namely 3D printers,MaKey MaKey and littleBits kits and these things called Arduinos, along with sometimes vague new directives about creative content delivery.
The question is naturally arising in some libraries and communities: Are we creating new spaces and programs because they’re needed, or just because everyone else is doing it? That’s a good question, and an important one to ask, for libraries and for any institution or organization considering jumping into the makerspace/hackerspace/FabLab field of dreams.