Park Avenue Library Transforms Into Innovation Center

Park Avenue Library Transforms Into Innovation Center photo thumbnail138991

The library is the place to be at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School. No longer just a place to check out books, the library has been transformed into a makerspace center full of activities that provide opportunities for innovation and collaboration.

Librarian Tim Quinn now also serves as the school’s STREAM specialist, engaging students in projects that blend science, technology, reading, engineering, the arts and mathematics. Classes visit the library at least once a month for a STREAM activity that relates to the grade-level curriculum. These lessons are planned together by Mr. Quinn and the classroom teachers.

Additionally, students are welcome to come to open library sessions during lunch and recess, in which they may avail themselves of the vast array of makerspace resources, both high-tech and low-tech. At the engineering table, children can build with Legos or Fiddlestix wood connector tools. They can also put together tubular pieces from the Marble Run set to make a custom track. 

There is a robot station with Dash and Sphero robots, that students can control using iPads. Bloxels introduces to game design as children can use colorful cubes to make a character, take a picture with it on an iPad and import it into a video game. There are also circuitry kits, a 3D printer and a zSpace virtual reality station.

“This is a space designed so students can expand their creative horizons,” Mr. Quinn said, noting that many students take advantage of the open library sessions because they enjoy the different challenges. He added that some students have a favorite activity, while others like to move among the different centers.

Sixth grader Jazzmine Reynolds comes to the library frequently to use the robots and strengthen her technological acumen.   

“It’s fun because I’m really into robots and I like the engineering in it,” she said. “I’m learning more about how to control them.” 

Fifth grader Alex Ayala attended his first session at the suggestion of Mr. Quinn, and now is a regular. A longtime fan of Legos, Alex explained that he likes exploring other resources that allow him to design and build.