Matt's Maker Space @ MLPL
In 2018, Matt’s Maker Space funded a Year of Making at the library. This funding allowed the library to provide collaborative programming with local organizations such as; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts/Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Heinz History Center, the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
These programs explored the components of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) for children in grades K-8. Middle School children had the chance to create digital animation, design apps, build raku-fired pottery, develop film from pinhole cameras, and participate in a 10-day artist-in-residency program in metalsmithing. Elementary-age children explored robotics, learned the fundamentals of drawing and painting, had fun with math and chemistry, and learned how to code.
Programs ranged from multi-part workshops to one-time events. They took place after school, on in-service days, on weekends, and in the summer. For our Matt’s Maker Space programs that required registration, we served: 121 Kindergarten - 2nd Graders 154 3rd-5th graders 46 6th-8th graders These numbers are only for registration events and do not include the non-registration programs, which included the Preschoolers CAN Code program (anywhere from 50-100 preschoolers), the Summer Reading Kickoff Artbots station (several hundred kids), and the Matt's Maker Kickoff event (several hundred kids).
Patron feedback was extremely positive about these programs and many asked if we would be able to have more in 2019. The branding was very successful and patrons regularly ask for the programs by the name “Matt’s Maker.”
Since 2022, with the support of Matt's Maker Space and our collaboration with Outreach Teen and Family Services, we have provided mental health programming that supports wellness and self-care for all ages. This initiative focuses on programs that build resiliency through stress reduction and personal resource expansion. It also provides connections to outside agencies that help us strengthen our network of care. Throughout this initiative the library continues to seek partnerships with local organizations that support mental wellness. Programs are offered on a continuous basis throughout the year at the library.
In 2022, Matt's Maker Space funded our Afterschool STEAM club with Mr. Scott and Kids Yoga for tweens. Sensory story times and a Wellness Wednesdays series were new additions for children. Additionally, Matt's Maker Space funded our newly created monthly STEM boxes for in-library STEM experimentation and our circulating SHINE kits which support mental wellness engagement for parents and children. Matt's Maker Space supported many of our afterschool teen events including; a series of Talk it Out Mental Health Meetups, Creation Station with Kai (a popular afterschool STEAM program), collaborative STEM programs from the educators at Citizen Science Lab, and a series of age-appropriate sound baths and yoga. For the first time Matt's Maker Space supported adult programs under our new SHINE initiative. These programs included a series of gentle movement and sound baths and a five-part positive psychology workshop.
To find out about our upcoming programs for all ages, look for the Matt's Maker Space @ MLPL logo in our event calendar or add Matt's Maker to our calendar search box.