Makerspace limits hours, welcomes creativity

Written By: Emily Croft, Guest Writer

Newswire photo by Joseph Cotton

Tucked away on the first floor of the McDonal Memorial Library, the Makerpsace has had to adjust its operations to accommodate health precautions for students, faculty and staff. This means shorter hours and fewer resources, but student workers are making the most of the situation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The Makerspace opened in 2016 with the help of a grant from the Southwest Ohio and Neighbor Libraries Consortium and the Xavier University Women of Excellence.

 The goal of the space is to allow students, faculty and staff to create and push their imaginations. Some aspects of the Makerspace have been cut during the pandemic — including electronic, crafting and office supplies — while others remain operational, including 3D printing, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, virtual reality and sticker makers.

Class or even personal projects are welcomed, but it may take a little patience from guests with limited hours.

Hunter McKean, a worker in the Makerspace, admits the hours of operation — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday — make it difficult for the Makerspace to be at maximum productivity for students, faculty and staff. 

“Those are the only hours we have, but you can make an appointment outside of those hours,” he explained. 

The appointments can be made via website or the QR code posted on the door of the Makerspace. This allows the staff of the Makerspace to maintain the specific social distancing capacity, ensuring the safety of everyone in the space. The workers are also helping the students with machines to reduce contact. 

McKean noted, “They can’t make the prints themselves. That’s all on us.” 

Along with changes to the Makerpsace itself, there are changes in the jobs for the workers, including an increased cleaning regimen.  

“It has not been as difficult as I was expecting it to be,” McKean noted. “But, there are some downsides to the added on job tasks.” 

For a worker like McKean, who has been there since last year, it can be easy to forget some of the new tasks before you’re done with your shift. “You have to run to a class, and you’ll forget you have to disinfect everything,” he said.