Author Archives: mark

Westport Library Receives Major Grant for MakerSpace

Maker Space CAKE_0-200x221The Westport Library has won a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, D.C. The National Leadership Grant for Libraries funding was awarded for the enhancement of the Library’s MakerSpace to demonstrate how opportunities to learn and practice innovation skills can change the perception of contemporary libraries and broaden the library audience.

The Westport Library was selected from a competitive field of applicants to receive funding for enhancing the year-old MakerSpace, declared a highly innovative project with broad potential impact for other libraries. The project, MakerSpace 2.0: Retinkering Libraries, proposes to transform the current MakerSpace, introducing more hands-on maker experiences, workshops and makers-in-residence who will support innovation labs on topics such as robotics, LED creations and tinkering with home electronics repairs. Interactive Innovation Stations (iStations) will introduce participants to the concepts and techniques of innovative thinking.

Only one other public library (Providence (RI) Public Library) in the country was selected to receive funding in this category this year from the IMLS, an independent agency of the federal government which is the main source of federal support for libraries and museums nationwide. The organization works at the national level in coordination with state and local agencies to “sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.”

The IMLS used a peer review process to evaluate the grant applications. Here are some of the comments from reviewers about Westport’s proposal:

“This is a cutting-edge project that is a participatory win-win situation for all involved. The MakerSpace involves everyone in the community, changes library purpose and engagement and enhances collaboration with the country’s movers and shakers.”

“The Westport Library has the potential to make a big impact with this project. They have a receptive community interested in more maker experiences and a national presence in the library involvement with the Maker movement.”

“Very solid project with a great deal of potential for innovation…information that is generated will be useful for other libraries…love the attention to the changing nature of library usage, and this project gets out on the leading edge of this.”

The grant will be shared with partners in the application—the Information and Library Science Department of Southern Connecticut State University and the State Department of Library Services.

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 – The Movie

The Westport Library has just published a from the Westport Mini Maker Faire on Saturday 27 April 2013:

Parking Map for Westport Mini Maker Faire

In order to help people identify parking for the Westport Mini Maker Faire in Westport, Connecticut on Saturday 27 April 2013, Greg Porretta has created a map you can use.  Click on the image to download a PDF version:

Westport Mini Maker Faire - Parking Map

Westport Mini Maker Faire – Parking Map

Note that some parking lots have time restrictions.  As much as we want you to enjoy the Faire all day, please obey all parking signs.

Official Program Guide Available!

The Official Program Guide for the Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 is available online.  Please click on the image below to download:

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Program Guide

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Program Guide

Note that the file is intended to be printed double-sided and folded on 11″ x 17″ paper.

Printed versions of the Official Program Guide will be available on Saturday 27 April at the Westport Mini Maker Faire.

Final Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster

The second annual Westport Mini Maker Faire is on Saturday 27 April.  The click on the image below to open up and download the final poster for the event.

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster

On behalf of the Westport Mini Maker Faire Organizing Committee, we thank all of our sponsors who have supported our Mini Maker Faire.

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster Available

UPDATED Saturday 20 April 2013 to include a new version of the poster with many added sponsors!

We are pleased to announce that the Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 poster is now available for download and distribution:

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster

Please share this poster with your friends and display it in prominent places after having receive permission from the appropriate people.

Special thanks to our current sponsors, including:

And our media sponsors:

A special thanks to Alex Reardon for her work creating the poster.

If you would like to add your name and logo to our list of sponsors, please contact Mark Mathias at or 203-226-1791.

Westport Library Maker Space and Bill Derry Featured on

An excellent story about the Westport Library’s Maker Space and an interview with Bill Derry appeared on the Web site today.  Read the story and see the photos at:

Staples High School Student Wins Editor’s Choice Award at World Maker Faire 2012

Michael Colley, a senior at Staples High School, Westport, Connecticut, won the prestigious Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon Award at the World Maker Faire 2012.  The event was held at the New York Hall of Science on September 29 and 30. The World Maker Faire has been described as the world’s most extraordinary gathering of DIY talents in science, technology, crafting, fashion, food, and sustainability.

Michael Colley and his Award Winning Bow

“Makers exemplify what happens when you unleash your curiosity and creativity,” said Margaret Honey, President and CEO of the New York Hall of Science. “In grade school, we learn about critical thinking and the scientific method. At World Maker Faire, we see those concepts taken to scale in ways that are inventive, whimsical, and often larger than life.”

The staff of MAKE and Maker Faire award Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Ribbons to the Makers that have demonstrated great creativity, ingenuity and innovation for their Maker Faire project. These ribbons are handed out at each event and signify the highlights of Maker Faire. Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon Winners embrace the DIY Spirit and inspire Makers of all ages.

Michael Colley and Alex Angus at World Maker Faire New York 2012

Michael Colley and Alex Angus at World Maker Faire New York 2012

Colley’s invention is an archery bow that can be made at home using materials purchased from most hardware stores for less than twenty dollars.  He also showed a modified version that cost about thirty dollars to make, but is considerably more powerful and durable. His creation was selected not just for ingenuity but for the amount of excitement it generated at the event. There were long lines as people of all ages waiting to try out the bow in a makeshift archery range.

“I have always wanted to make a bow, so invented my own.  It functions like a traditional bow, but it gets its power from springs, instead of wood,” explains Colley. Many experienced archers and amateur bow makers visited his booth and provided feedback. They commented that Colley’s modified version was as powerful and effective as any traditional bow.

“I love to build,” said Colley. “I like to create new ways of doing things, and rethinking how they work. I recently found my passion for building, and am now embracing it whenever I can. Colley is considering majoring in industrial or product design in college, so he can pursue a career that embodies the maker spirit.

Helping Make Maker Faires

At the World Maker Faire New York 2012, a session titled “Mini Maker Faires: Building Local Maker Community Around the Globe” was facilitated by Sabrina Merlos, Director of Mini Maker Faires.

Left to right: Shannon Hanley (Calgary), Mark Mathias, Luis Rodriguez (Kansas City) and Sabrina Merlo

The entire session can be viewed on YouTube using this link:

Bus to World Maker Faire New York 2012

A school bus carrying Westporters and guests left today for the World Maker Faire New York.  Among them were about 20 students from Bridge Academy in Bridgeport as well as students and adults from Westport and surrounding areas, including two students from the Westport ABC program. The trip is a follow up to the Westport Mini Maker Faire that occurred earlier this year. The trip was sponsored by the Bridge Academy, Maker Faire, Westport Sunrise Rotary Club, Westport Library and CLASP Homes. The two-day event at the New York Hall of Science in Queens is described by organizers as a “family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.”


Photo by Ruben Guardado