Librarians loose in the digital lab!

by | Oct 18, 2019 | ALIA West, City of Canning, events, robot, STEAM, technology

Library folk typically love to get hands on with new tech, find out how things work, and learn how to implement creative ideas in their own workplaces. Last Saturday was no exception when ALIAWest joined forces with the City of Canning Libraries to bring you STEAM Lab – an interactive and informative play session designed to expose industry professionals to the sorts of new tech now commonplace in many public and academic libraries (think robots and 3D printing). It was also a chance to showcase the super modern and versatile Studio at Riverton Library; a bright, open plan space with plenty of natural light and a variety of work (play) stations.

Taylor welcomes attendees to the Studio at Riverton Library.

STEAM Lab was an offshoot of another play lab the City of Canning Libraries facilitate that targets young people. ALIAWest Committee member and Lifelong Learning Librarian for the City of Canning, Taylor, brought the idea to us and this time the event was aimed at giving library professionals the opportunity to see some high tech tools at work and hear how they are being utilised. Xenon the NAO Robot could do everything from the Thriller dance to demonstrate how to safely get up from a fall – something Lifelong Learning Librarian, Tricia, says can be used with older adults.

Tricia explaining how City of Canning Libraries have been using the NAO Robot.

Participants heard all about the Library’s experimentations with a new 3D printer and Emblaser laser cutter. City of Canning Libraries are still developing the best approach to get the public working with these tools at their own pace and hearing these behind the scenes insights was useful for those considering introducing similar technology at their libraries. In the meantime, the STEAM Lab play and learn opportunity gave guests like us the chance to get hands on with a small 3D printing task – from selecting what to print, setting the size, and then marvelling at our miniature creations!

Taylor removing our work from the 3D printer.
Laser cut animals made with the Emblaser.

We also had time to play with and explore some medium-tech stuff like Nintendo Labo (I was particularly hooked on the fishing game!) and of course Lego and origami for when we needed a break from all the cool technology. City of Canning’s Young People Services Librarian, Lilly, explained both low and high tech activities remain popular and it’s useful to offer a mix to keep everyone engaged.

Nintendo Labo play station.
Sophie and Lori playing with Nintendo Labo.

STEAM Lab was a great success with fully booked sessions attracting librarians and library technicians from a range of sectors including schools, universities, TAFE, public libraries, and the State Library. The event would not have been possible without the support of the City of Canning Libraries and the time and energy of the generous staff who were involved: Taylor, Lilly, Tricia, and David, the roving Digital Literacy Specialist. Thank you from the ALIAWest Committee!

Missed out on STEAM Lab? Subscribe to the ALIAWest blog and follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss another event. Our next big thing is the Great Library Quiz, Thursday 5th December – hope to see you there!


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