A library that holds more than books

Looking for a place to make a robot? Do some 3D printing? Or perhaps create music? Look no further than your public library.


While many communities turn to their local libraries for books, information, and quiet time, some libraries are meeting the digital age head-on.

At The Hive in Tampa, Florida, a library card opens doors to create music videos and robots or to experiment with 3-D printing.

Here's a look.


Looking for a place to make a robot, do some 3-D printing, or perhaps create music?

Look no further than your public library.

We were looking at our spaces and remodeling them to provide more people space and more access not just to our books and collections but to offer additional resources that people can use for creative, hands-on, D.I.Y. purposes.

And that's how we got started with maker spaces in libraries.

♪♪ We decided that we were going to add space here at the John F. Germany Library for folks to come in, and whether they wanted to build something, learn a new skill, do audio/video production, that we could create a space for them to learn that.

This is The Hive, a place where Hillsborough County library cardholders can come and take advantage of some really cool technology.

I think it's beneficial because if you don't have access to these tools or you've never encountered robotics before or sewing before, any of the equipment that we have, it gives people a chance to do that and to discover something that they might not have otherwise known they were interested in or give them the tools to accomplish something that they might not otherwise be able to accomplish.


The Hive has a variety of classes to help people take advantage of the resources here.

Taynisha Berenguer inspires kids to try robotics.

With the Robotix Blox program, the main thing that we're trying to do is to introduce them to the main tenets of robotics, so a little bit about engineering, a little bit about coding, and a little bit on what it is that goes in to how robotics works and how to make your bot move and how to make it move and the pieces you need to build to make it work.

♪♪ There's always been a strong component of children's programming in libraries since the beginning -- storytimes and all those different types of things.

We just decided to continue on with that.

This program is mostly for ages 9 to 14, so the middle-school age, and with that, there's a huge drop-off with the interest in science once they hit middle school.

So, the libraries, much in the way they are used to fill in with literacy gaps, we're also trying to fill in with other gaps, one of them being the STEM field and science.

Engaging these young people is critical for keeping them interested in the sciences.

It's so fun to see them when it clicks and when they finally understand what they're doing or when they see the bot do something that they built.

They really get a huge kick out of just watching it do something that the made it do.

There are several 3-D printing stations at The Hive.

People crank out all kinds of gadgets here.

To get up to speed, you may want to take their 3-D printing class.

We have open labs and different design classes to get people more comfortable with using the technology, and once you've see it in action, it's not quite as scary as you might think.

So, you want to check out the 3-D-modeling side of it?

A lot of it is based on 3-D modeling and design, and then the actual printing part is basically just building, layer by layer, using a plastic material.

After learning the design software, you can start creating and making all kinds of objects.

People have used it to make sort of little trinkets, but then we've got people that also use it for rapid prototyping of new inventions that they want or to create replacement parts for things that have broken around their house.

Whether you're an engineer or an artist, local residents here can take advantage of the latest technology.

We've got our dedicated users that send in prints every month, and they use up their four hours as soon as the 1st of the month hits.

So, everybody with a library card with Hillsborough County that's in good standing gets four hours of print time per month.

We have a full sewing lab.

We offer sewing machines to the public.

They can book time with them.

Our classes have been very, very popular and, actually, very popular across all ages.

We've provided sewing classes on different topics -- everything from how to make a tote bag to cosplay workshops.

We provide them access to the equipment so that they can kind of test it out, see if it's something that they're interested in, and then let their imagination run wild.

Kirsten Vanderkelen is a regular visitor to The Hive.

She's an expert seamstress who can't afford her own equipment.

A friend of mine -- she's a carhop, and she wanted a custom apron with an embroidered unicorn on it.

She wanted very rainbow.

She wanted zippers in the front of the apron so her change and the receipts and everything didn't go flying in case she fell, 'cause she is on skates.

The sewing room allows Kirsten to spread out and multitask.

She can be cutting fabric and sewing while her unicorn design is embroidered into the apron.

And I can be in here doing this.

My husband can be in the recording studio.

The kids can be in the Minecraft club, and, literally, the entire family can be here for the whole weekend.


The Hive also has an audio/video recording studio for those who love to create digital media.

It's fully equipped with an iMac, 27-inch.

It's able to handle the full Adobe creative cloud, which works well for our patrons as far as editing any of the media that they capture.

It's equipped with all of the native Mac software.

♪♪ We do have a MIDI controller available, which is actually a MIDI trigger that allows the sounds within the software to be activated, so you're able to use something that looks like a standard keyboard and play a cello or a guitar.

And if you want to create some amazing images to go with your music...

We do have a full chroma key screen that is able to be utilized for recording.

We do have a great amount of lighting, and we have a nice HD camera available, as well, for our patrons to utilize and create their footage and YouTube videos.

Today we want to introduce you to The Hive at the...

It is a great feeling to actually be on the cutting edge as far as where the libraries of the future will actually be not only a place to enjoy content that was created by others but to actually create your own content.

Collaborative spaces are available, featuring video projectors and large monitors.

We're not a quiet library space.

We are definitely encouraging people to talk and to collaborate.

The Hive is a place for innovators and lovers of lifelong learning.

I love the nature of the maker movement -- that it encourages people to form a community and work together to solve problems and learn new things.

I think that's what a library can do best.