Story and photos by Veronica Penney

On Sat., Sept. 23, the Pikes Peak Library District held a Grand Opening Block Party to unveil Sand Creek Library’s new Maker Space and Recording Studio, on 1821 S. Academy Blvd. in Colorado Springs.

Open and free to residents with a PPLD library card, the new spaces are designed to offer enhanced learning opportunities to members of the southeast Colorado Springs community. The makerspace and recording studio were supported by Comcast/ NBCUniversal and mark the latest completed library addition in the Tri-Building Capital Campaign, an initiative to increase access to technology in all PPLD branches by 2020.

Sand Creek Library hosted community events each evening in the week leading up to the Grand Opening, including a Kid’s Open House and Teen Day, as well as an adult education promotion where participants were invited to play music from their home country in the recording studio.

The celebration culminated in Saturday’s block party, which saw Sand Creek Library’s parking lot transformed into a small-scale street festival, complete with two bouncy houses, plenty of food, and classic fair activities like spin art and spray paint art. A live jazz band performance and tours of the library’s new community spaces, along with a free hot dog lunch for attendees, rounded out the festivities.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sand Creek Library held machine demos in the newly opened makerspace. The room is outfitted to appeal to a wide range of creative interests, from those with a penchant for engineering and technology, to people seeking out general tools for crafts projects. The room is outfitted with 3D printers, laser cutters one would expect in a tech-forward space, as well as sewing machines, a serger, and an array of handicraft and art tools.

In the recording studio, visitors could take tours and try their hand at laying down some beats using the drum machine. The studio is outfitted with everything necessary to produce and edit audio, without ever leaving the library. A digital recording booth, including professional-grade microphones and electronic keyboards, will allow community members to produce recordings, which can be edited using the software at the library.

As part of the Block Party, Sand Creek Library set up an array of activities and spaces to get visitors of all ages engaged in creative thinking. Kids put their design skills to the test in the Brilliant Buttons workshop and a construction space that used pool noodles as building blocks. (Grown-ups were welcome too, of course.)

The computer lab, which houses nine community computers, was transformed into Saturday’s Teen Space. Adults benefited from tours of the makerspace and Recording Studio, community booths, and information on community classes in the new spaces.

In addition to the math tutoring, English classes, and computer courses that Sand Creek Library already offered, the makerspace will allow residents to take advantage of some additional learning opportunities. A Laser Cutter/ Engraver Badging Class will make use of the new laser cutter, and a kiln will be available for use during classes.

Both the makerspace and recording studio will be free and open to the public during scheduled open hours.

For more information on Sand Creek Library’s newest spaces and class offerings, head to their website.