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Mascoutah Public Library Opens “The Design Lab” and Receives Visit from Rep. Kevin Schmidt

Above, Illinois Rep. Kevin Schmidt was excited to attend the opening of Mascoutah Public Library’s new Design Lab on Sept. 18

By Zachary Daum

The Mascoutah Public Library opened its state-of-the-art Design Lab on Monday, September 18. This addition to the library’s offerings has been made possible through the funding from the Project Next Generation Grant, awarded by the Illinois State Library.

The library’s new design lab consists of a Makerbot Sketch 3D Printer, a computer station, an iPad Pro equipped with an Apple Pencil, an Eco Tank 8550 photo printer, a Cricut Maker 3 and a Cricut Easy Press heat press. These tools will allow library patrons access to create things like t-shirt prints, print photo lab quality pictures and print a wide variety of things with the 3D printer, using 3D models created by library patrons themselves.

The lab is open for patron use by reservation, similar to the library’s study rooms and is divided into two distinct stations – the iPad station and the computer station. Each station can accommodate groups of up to four patrons, allowing for collaborative projects and shared learning experiences.

While the lab offers a variety of exciting tools, it’s important to note that there are usage fees for certain equipment. The 3D printer is available at a cost of $0.10 per gram of filament used, while the photo printer is priced at $0.50 per sheet printed. However, the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Easy Press heat press are available for use at no cost, with patrons required to provide their own materials.

One of the highlights of the Design Lab’s launch was a special visit from Illinois State Representative Kevin Schmidt, who expressed his enthusiasm for this innovative addition to the community. “I think the design lab will add much-needed capabilities for the community where children and even adults can design things that they want to use,” remarked Representative Schmidt. He further emphasized the importance of libraries evolving beyond books, stating, “The possibilities are endless. I think it’s a great asset to the community. Libraries need to go beyond books. Things like this, they don’t have at home.”

Mascoutah Public Library Director Joel Pikora also shared his excitement about the new design lab, highlighting the library’s role as a community hub. “Our numbers are finally recovering to pre-pandemic levels, and books are still our number one commodity, but the more supplemental things we can add, such as a meeting space or things at our new design lab that are prohibitively expensive for individuals to have, like fishing poles. We can continue to provide a place for our community and for our community to be better,” said Pikora.

For more information about the Design Lab and its guidelines, including usage policies and reservation procedures, please visit the Mascoutah Public Library’s official website or contact the library directly.

Design Lab Guidelines

Equipment: The Design Lab is equipped with two computer stations, a 3D printer, a photo printer and a Cricut machine.

Reservation: Each computer station may be reserved separately by patrons, either alone or working in a group of up to four.

Usage Policies: Design Lab computers are not for general internet browsing by patrons. Violation of this policy will be considered a breach as outlined in the Mascoutah Public Library’s Computer Use policy.

Supervision: Children under 10 must be accompanied by a supervising adult at all times while using the Design Lab.

3D Printer: The 3D Printer is available for non-commercial public use and costs $0.10 per gram of filament used. Design requests must adhere to specific guidelines outlined in the Equipment Use policy.

Photo Printer: The photo printer is available for non-commercial public use at a cost of $0.50 per sheet. Patrons may use their own paper, subject to library approval.

Cricut: The Cricut machine is available for non-commercial public use at no cost, but patrons must provide their own materials. Usage guidelines and restrictions are outlined in the Equipment Use policy.

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