Library branches out into age of STEAM

Full steam ahead . . . Oamaru Public Library’s youth literacy assistant and social media co-ordinator Susanna Elliffe (left) and digital services librarian Debbie Price-Ewen display some of the equipment to be used at tomorrow’s STEAM Saturday event. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Ever wanted to control a robot? How about use a 3-D printer?

The Oamaru Public Library is hosting STEAM Saturday tomorrow to enable community members to extend their skills and interact with new games and equipment available at the facility.

STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and maths — is vital for both children and adults as it forms the foundation for all learning.

During the event, people can choose a design to make on the 3-D printer, and there will be GraviTrax stations to make marble runs, electronic brain boxes, and mini-robots. People can code travel routes for the robots and make them blink and make sounds.

Digital services librarian Debbie Price-Ewen said the event was ‘‘aspirational’’ for the library, as it wanted to have a ‘‘makerspace’’ in the future and promote more tools for the community to use.

It was a fun way for people to visit the library, try out the new toys and products, and learn more about what the library offered.

The library had owned a 3-D printer for the past year, and had been on a ‘‘massive learning curve’’. Staff were now learning to create their own designs.

Being able to use STEAM products was important and Mrs Price-Ewen wanted people to ‘‘get excited’’ about the opportunities it offered for fun in everyday life and in their jobs.

‘‘This keeps you in the game and it also keeps your brain going, which isimportant. It’s about extending your skill base as well,’’ Mrs Price-Ewen said.

‘‘It’s not just for kids, it’s also for adults.’’

Youth literacy assistant and social media co-ordinator Susanna Elliffe said using STEAM equipment was about ‘‘21st Century learning’’.

‘‘I think, also, because it’s so collaborative,’’ Miss Elliffe said.
‘‘My colleague and I, when we’re figuring out how to do stuff — it was just so much teamwork. Some people have different brains for different things and you just work together to do it.

“It’s also life skills as well, as we get more technology like this.’’

The library planned to have after-school programmes for STEAM and make the equipment lendable in the future.

Tomorrow’s event would run from 10am to 4pm.