The Future Of LA Makerspace
One year ago today, thanks to you, the LA Makerspace successfully reached its fundraising goal on Kickstarter. The money that we raised with our supportive friends, family, and community allowed us to purchase our laser cutter and 3D printers, as well as pay for part-time facility staff on the weekends for members' open project hours. Thanks to our amazing instructors and our many wonderful volunteers, we've held over 100 events and workshops for thousands of DIYers young and young at heart.
In September we made the difficult decision to move out of the LA Mart. Since then we have been searching for our new home and we think we found the perfect spot.
Over the past year, we've been building our relationship with the LA Public Library (LAPL). When we were at LA Mart, we had librarians from all over the city and county come through our doors to participate in our workshops and learn about setting up a makerspace. At the Central Library in Downtown, we gave a talk on makerspaces to youth librarians and a special Arduino workshop in partnership with Sparkfun. Allen and Eain have been running robotic and 3D printing classes at libraries around the city and have received great feedback. The LA Librarians are ready to get making.
With that in mind, it made perfect sense when LAPL told us that their Koreatown Pio-Pico branch had space that would be perfect for a makerspace.
We have toured the location three times, and each time we get more excited about the possibilities. On the second floor of Pio-Pico library, there is a large 4000 square foot raw space where all the messy making can happen. There is a separate computer lab, workspace with desks, and conference/lecture room. Other benefits include a separate entrance with intercom, the ability to put up external signage, access to all the restaurants and coffee shops on Wilshire, easy transit being close to the metro station with plenty of parking - and there is even a spot outside to grow a garden. It meets all of our requirements and addresses the issues that we had at LA Mart.
We want the Pio-Pico location to serve as a model makerspace and training hub for librarians, teachers, parents, and other enthusiasts to learn how to use the equipment, how to create their own events and workshops, and even how to set up a makerspace in their library, classroom, or garage. Even more importantly we want it to be a place that you want to go and hang out in, whether just to meet up with others that share your interests or to work on a project.
The theme that we pitched to LAPL is "The Future Of…"
- The Future of Fashion (think wearable tech)
- The Future of Robotics (of course we have to have robots)
- The Future of Film
- The Future of Programming
- The Future of 3D Printing
- and more!
How Do We Make This Happen?
There are a few things that need to happen to make this opportunity a reality. First, we need to work with an architect to provide a sketch of the space so LAPL can budget out the cost to put in the electrical, sink, ceiling, etc. Second, we need LA City Council approval for free rent. Third, and this may be the most important piece, we need a new funding source - grants, corporate sponsorships, etc. Working with LAPL means we would no longer require membership fees to participate at the LA Makerspace, which is great, but then we would not have that income to pay for staff to open and close the space and ensure safety protocols, equipment training, etc. We also need to pay for materials, tools, etc.
This is where you come in. If you would like to help with any of the following, please sign up on our volunteer page.
- Create an architectural drawing of the space that we envision
- Help with Fundraising - donations and corporate sponsorship
- Dedicate weekend volunteer hours for a minimum of 6 months
- Join the working Board of Directors (please send your cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please join us on Wed., Jan. 8th at 7pm for an online discussion to learn more about this opportunity and ask questions.
Did You Know?
LAPL is one of the largest publicly funded library systems in the world. It has 72 branches and 828 staff. The County of LA Public Library has 85 branches. Mayor Eric Garcetti wants innovation hubs in Los Angeles as part of his civic innovation plan. Everyone knows where their local library is, and libraries are accessible to all ages. Imagine if every one of those 157 libraries in Los Angeles County became an innovation hub. Every Angeleno could go to their local library and make things with their hands, learn how to program, create a new product, or start a new business.
We've come so far already with your help, and we're looking forward to creating an even bigger and brighter future for the LA Makerspace with you!