It’s no secret that the Free Library of Philadelphia does more than just lend books — the library’s 54 branches host GED classes, author events, Scrabble tournaments, and an annual book festival, among other events. This summer, it’s also one of 108 sites nationwide to host a Maker Corps program, which aims to expose youth and families to maker-oriented projects with the goal of increasing creative problem-solving skills, confidence, and leadership skills. The program and its umbrella organization Maker Education Initiative were founded in part by the people responsible for MAKE Magazine, so that should give an inkling to the kind of projects they’ll be working on.
The Free Library’s group operates under the moniker Maker Jawn (with a logo that doesn’t get nearly enough facetime) and they were also one of 16 organizations nationwide to win a grant from the Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition. NextFab is especially proud of the Maker Jawn folks since one of them is former employee Ryan Barnes, who came to NextFab through Drexel’s Co-op program. Since Ryan spent his time here working on electronics projects and helping to organize our kid-oriented Maker Field Day at the Franklin Institute, we’re thrilled his new project combines these interests.
Maker Jawn’s Project:Connect project helps youth at five Free Library locations design and create electronic, paper-based message cards that will be combined into an interactive electronic mosaic mural, but the Maker Corps hosts all sorts of other projects throughout the summer, such as a balloon zipline, e-textiles and marionette puppets. The project culminates Saturday, Aug. 17 when the digital and physical mural will be displayed as part of the city-wide Philadelphia Maker Celebration.
Photo credit: makerjawn.org