26 January 2023
Person holding a tumbler and a mug

Makerspaces in libraries are great. While makerspaces allow people to get creative and discover new ideas for projects, using the new equipment can be daunting for those who are unfamiliar with it. That’s why The Workshop Lab at Palatine Library District created an easy and accessible way to introduce members to the new space. 

This past holiday season at Palatine Library, members were invited to visit The Workshop Lab to make personalized gifts for generously low prices. The Holiday Gift Guide was designed to teach members how to maneuver the new equipment while creating personalized gifts for their loved ones. 

There was a variety of projects from which members could choose for their gifts including sublimated mugs and ornaments, laser cut coasters and ornaments, 40-ounce tumblers, three-inch magnets, and gift tags created from the Cricut maker.  

“We were expecting about half of our final turnout, but overall, it was busier than usual in the Lab especially on the weekends,” said Selicia Applegate, Workshop coordinator.  

The slate of new projects and uptick in foot traffic earned The Workshop over $1,300 which went back to The Workshop to offset the cost of the supplies used on these projects and allowed them to replenish materials when needed. However, the benefits of the Holiday Gift Guide extended beyond the dollar amount earned. 

“The best part was seeing members talk to each other. They helped each other with problem solving and shared ideas for their gifts. It was nice to see our members come back to the Library and use this space to collaborate,” Applegate said.  

Workshop staff created dozens of templates on the machines so members could choose their designs and learn how to use the machine. The staff in this space serve as guides, but the idea of The Workshop Lab is to be self-led. So, members collaborated with each other when needed or worked on their gifts independently. 

With the success of this past holiday season, Workshop associates are already looking forward to the holidays this year. 

“We’ve already started planning similar projects with all new designs, but with the same goal of bringing people together,” Applegate said. 

At the end of the holiday season, there was an amazing number of items made: 215 magnets, 208 ceramic ornaments, 172 mugs, 42 tumblers, and 23 coasters. As The Workshop Lab continues to thrive and members explore the space, their hope is that those numbers continue to grow. 

Written by Maridsa Choute, marketing and engagement coordinator, Palatine Library District