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Cedar Rapids Library revamps maker room

Jul 13, 2023

Space creates equitable access to new and emerging technology for residents

Jun. 5, 2023 1:12 am

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids residents can enjoy access to new and emerging workforce technology through the Maker Room at the Cedar Rapids Public Library this summer.

After expanding its space and equipment at the downtown branch, the library is set to reopen the Maker Room Monday.

The new expanded space will host a laser cutter, 3D printer, Cricut Maker (a vinyl design cutter), a photo scanner, and access to the Adobe Creative Suite to bolster access to new technology and skills being implemented in the workforce.

Visit to book an appointment and learn more about available equipment.

Cedar Rapids Public Library Programming Manager Kevin Delecki said the program is focused on making cutting-edge technology accessible for all Cedar Rapids residents.

"Now with these emerging technologies that are starting to become more and more integrated into schools, workplaces and job skills for the next generation — those skills are starting to become an expectation," Delecki said. "But the equipment to learn those skills isn't widely available, it isn't affordable, and it does not have equitable access."

Delecki added that libraries are meant to bring knowledge and skills to their community — just like the books that libraries started with — technology has become the new bastion of information, and increasing accessibility of that technology is the library's goal with the program.

"The library can really be that centralized place to provide access and ensure that the entire community can use it: it doesn't matter your income, it doesn't matter your age, it doesn't matter your ability level, it doesn't matter where in town you live. It's open for the whole community to come in and use."

The library not only offers access to this equipment, but also offers assistance and instruction with the available equipment, Delecki said.

He added that the program is looking to bring even more technology to the Maker Room but to ensure the staff can assist residents, it doesn't want to expand to rapidly.

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"We’re looking at a few other ways that we can slowly increase accessible equipment," Delecki said. "My entire team is trained on all of the different pieces of equipment that we have so that we can offer one on one appointments to help people learn them. And I want to make sure that everyone remains experts on those things so that they continue to help. I don't want to outpace our ability to teach."

In addition to the space dedicated in the downtown branch of the library, Delecki plans on bringing the portable equipment to other branches and other outreach events that the library hosts throughout the summer.

The Maker Room began in 2022 when the library was looking to repurpose an unused space in the downtown library. Now the Maker Room is taking over another unused space — an old computer lab that doesn't get the use it once did, Delecki said.

Funding for the Maker Room is provided by the Giacoletto Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at promoting life long learning based on the wishes of the Giacoletto brothers.

Comments: 319-368-8877; [email protected]

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