Friday, December 13, 2013

Meeting with University City Chamber of Commerce

Ellen Bern from the University City Chamber of Commerce came to the library for a meeting and we talked about our library transformation project.  Ellen is a great advocate for University City businesses, active in other parts of the community and seems to have endless energy and ideas!  She was exited to learn about our plans for new equipment and services coming to the library and wants the Chamber to be involved as a test case for new ideas.  The library already partners with the Chamber and University City in an ongoing series of workshops for small business owners and people who are considering opening businesses.  Ellen had several ideas to add to the workshops about services offered by the library and information available to all our patrons but of specific interest to business.  Meeting with Ellen is always great because you leave with new ideas and a new perspective on how the library can assist our local businesses. We look forward to continuing our  partnership with the Chamber.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Visit to Arch Reactor!

This week, we had the opportunity to visit with Arch Reactor ( during their Tuesday evening open-to-the public meeting. From the outside, one would never suspect that this building was home to such amazing technical creativity and St. Louis' largest hackerspace!
Derek Sigler, Arch Reactor Education Director, greeted us at the door and led us through the hallways into their reaction chamber, i.e. their working spaces. For a visual, check out their website at They have equipment of all types ranging from electronics, printers, scanners, cutters, micro-circuitry, wood-working, and even a lounge area for entertainment.

Two of the most fascinating demonstrations involved the laser cutter and the Arduino. The 40-watt laser cutter uses LaserCad software to create 2D representations. Multiple material types can be used for cutting, each requiring specific calibration. For this demo, Derek had previously designed 4 letters in LaserCad and, after about 10 minutes of cutting time, reproduced the letters in exact detail.  
The second demonstration involved using an Arduino kit to programmatically control the lights, color, speed, and movement on an LED strip. For more information on Arduino, check out the product website at and also Wikipedia's page at

We thanked Arch Reactor for giving us the opportunity to learn about their space, projects, and activities. As we continue with planning the UCPL MakerSpace, we very much look forward to working with these talented people.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In the past year or so, the University City Public Library (UCPL) has upgraded our wifi, added self-service faxing and scanning, added ereaders for training, and made Chromebook computers available for patron checkout (most of this through funding from LSTA grants from the Missouri State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services).
Thanks to the MOREnet Public Library Research Project, UCPL will soon be adding new services, offering new software, and upgrading the computer equipment available to our patrons.
UCPL will be providing our patrons with the following:

  • An audio / visual makerspace, allowing patrons to create, edit, and store digital images, documents, sound files, and video projects
  • A fabrication makerspace, with software and hardware to help all library users design and create physical objects
  • Training software for a wide variety of computer applications
  • A digital repository