Preserving Our Family Treasures – Special Collections Division at Akron Mini Maker Faire

MarriageCertificate-smAll of us have family treasures, those photographs, letters and other documents that tell the stories of our families.  Preserving these materials is our job!

Improper storage can cause irreparable damage.  Heat, humidity, and light are the worst enemies of anything on paper, but other culprits might be such things as the use of inexpensive photo albums like the “magnetic” self-adhesive albums that so many of us used in the last 20-30 years.

How many of us have boxes of unidentified photographs – old photos of folks who look like our family, but nothing is written on the back to tell us for certain who they are? Don’t pass your photographs on to the next generation without identifying  those folks !

diaryPreserving, identifying, and storing these materials does not have to be expensive or time-consuming.  There are many simple steps everyone can take to ensure the survival of these items for future generations.  Join the Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library as we demonstrate examples of deterioration caused by improperly stored materials, and share simple ways to preserve your important family photographs and documents.

FerdGuinter018We’ll be at the Akron Mini Maker Faire Saturday, October 18 from 11 am to 4 pm to show how you can preserve your family treasures for future generations. Be sure to visit us on the third floor of Main Library.

In the meantime, check out these sites for lots of great information about preserving your family treasures:

Library of Congress:

National Archives:

Images provided by the Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.


What can I do with a 3D printer?

View of the 3d Printer Farm

View of 3d Printer Farm at 2013 Akron Mini Maker Faire

If you spend any time browsing tech sites such as TechCrunch or Engadget, or even spend any time on Facebook, you have probably seen articles about 3D printing and wonder what you could do with a 3D printer.  Perhaps you even considered becoming a maker of 3D objects at our Mini Maker Faire.  Well, wonder no more; let your imagination run wild.

The Library’s Science & Technology blog blogged before about innovations made possible with a 3D printer in  “3D-printed skull has been successfully implanted,”   3D printing with stem cells could lead to printable organs, and Printing in the Third Dimension.  Now we would like to highlight three new concepts in the world of 3D printing: “Artist 3D-Prints City-Shaped Shells For Hermit Crabs.”  Although we aren’t sure a plastic shell would be healthy for the hermit crab, the shells created by Aki Inomata are simply gorgeous, and the hermit crabs were eager to adopt them as their new homes.   Then there is “Disney Conquers Physics, Uses 3D Printing to Create Impossible Spinning Tops.”  This research project combines 3D printing with physics and made just about any shape they tried spin, and spin well.  The pdf of the Disney project can be found here.  Finally, a team of researchers at Harvard have designed a crawling robot that assembles itself that could be created by a 3D printer.  This article can be found in the August 8, 2014 issue of the journal Science, page 623 “Folding Structures out of Flat Materials,” by Z. You.  Check out the video on  Science Shot.

Take a look at these books on 3D printing to get more ideas:

Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman.



3D Modeling and Printing with Tinkercad: Create and Print Your Own 3D Models by James Floyd Kelly. Yes, we told you about this book before, but you really should take a look at it if 3-d printing is in your future.



Make: 3D Printing.




The Library’s 3d printer in action earlier this year

You can visit the tinkercad website to download the program and experiment with its features.

While you’re at it, you might want to see the display of 3D objects created in our Technology Center on the first floor at Main Library.

New library books for Maker ideas

Still looking for the perfect project to display at the Akron Mini Maker Faire?  Here’s some inspiration, straight from the new book shelf at the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

tinkercad3D Modeling and Printing with Tinkercad - Tinkercad is the near-perfect software solution for getting started with 3-d printing.  It’s relatively easy to use, web-based, and you can use the basic version of free.  That’s a great price!

stitch 'n swapStitch ‘n Swap, by the editors of Generation Q magazine, features 25 handsewing projects to give and receive.  It’s chock full of fun and funky things to make.

bonsaiMaybe you’re a more earthy sort?  The Beginner’s Guide to Bonsai will have you getting you Maker groove on in, well, in a long time, because Bonsai is not an instant Make.  But it is really cool, so check it out. This book will tell you which plants are most suitable for growing and training as a bonsai as well as the tools, pots, and soils to grow you best bonsai.

bug out vehicleAnd, finally, this title has Survivalist Maker written all over it: Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle: The Disaster Survival Vehicle Guide. This book shows how to outfit any vehicle, even the family car, with practical and affordable survival equipment. You’ll be ready when you need to bug out.

Check it out, and let us know what you’re going to Make.

I want to be a Maker – FAQs

So, you have a great project you want to share with the Akron community.  But, you have a few questions before you take the leap and complete the Call for Makers application. Read on …

When is the Akron Mini Maker Faire? Saturday, October 18, 11 am-4 pm.

What time do I have to get set up? Set up begins as early as 8 am on Saturday, October 18, and all set up must be complete by 10:30 am.

Hmmm… do I have to stay all 5 hours? Yes, in order for every Faire-goer to see all events, we do require all Makers to commit to staying for the entire Faire. But, we don’t want you to go hungry, so lunch will be provided to all Makers. Bring a friend along to man (or woman) your exhibit while you chow down.

How much space will I be allotted? Will I need to bring my own table and chairs? The “standard set up” is an eight foot table and two chairs, which will be provided by us.  You will be able to request a different set up on the Call for Makers application.

Will I have electricity?  Wifi? If you exhibit requires electricity, be sure to note that on your Call for Makers application. Wi-fi is available in the Library building, but is not reliably available outside.  If your exhibit requires a wi-fi connection, please request an indoor location.

Is this free? If you do not plan to sell any items, your exhibit space is free. Commercial Makers will pay $50 for their exhibit space. If you plan to offer anything for sale, you must apply as a Commercial Maker.

Will there be LOTS of Commercial Makers?   Mini Maker Faires are designed to be non-commercial in nature.  We will limit our Commercial Makers to about 10% of all accepted Makers.

How old does a Maker need to be? There is no age limit to apply.  Any Maker under 18 will need parental or guardian permission. Last year’s Faire had several popular teen (and younger) Makers, including Lauren Egts , Daniel Anand, and Zack Tarle.  Schools and clubs are encouraged to apply as well.

My Making is not high tech.  Can I still be a Maker? Absolutely! Not every Maker exhibit is high tech.  Sure, we have 3d printers, vacuum formers, robots, and micro-controllers. But we also have fiber artists, woodworkers, and seed-savers.  If you have a unique way of creating something, we want YOU for the Akron Mini Maker Faire.

I’m looking for some ideas … Check out our previous blog posts on finding inspiration; visit the Maker Faire website for Editors’ Choice Blue Ribbon projects from other Faires; and check out your Akron-Summit County Public Library’s collection of FREE books/DVDs/magazines to get your creativity flowing.

 You didn’t answer my question ... OK, you can leave us a comment, or you can send us an email at, or you can call the Science & Technology division at the Library at 330-643-9075. We’ll try to find you an answer. Because we’re a library; we Make answers.

Call for Makers opens August 11

Can you feel the excitement?  The Akron Mini Maker Faire Call for Makers opens Monday, August 11. You can fill out the Call for Makers application which will be available right on this page, probably off to the right.  Tell us as much as you can about your project, your hack, your hobby, and why you want to share it with the Akron community. We’ll be reviewing applications and letting all applicants know if they have been selected  by September 20.

Want some ideas from other Mini Maker Faires?  The Dover (New Hampshire) Mini Maker Faire  has posted some of their upcoming Makers on their website.  Check it out — they are going to have a really awesome collection of Makers at their Mini Maker Faire later this month. There’s seedbombing, biomass gasification (not as gross as it sounds), porcelain doll making, robotics, ghostbusters, stiltwalkers, and a 7-year-old launching paper airplanes.  Plus lots more ideas to explore.

And that’s just Dover, New Hampshire.  Akron is waaay cooler than that.  So, Akron, get your Make in gear and get ready to answer the Call for Makers!

Akron Digital Media Center is Mini Maker Faire Media Sponsor

Logo for the Akron Digital Media CenterBig news outlets are great for the big stories, but where do you go to find news stories about events which happen in your own neighborhood?  Whose able to make us aware of  what’s up at the local food bank, the menu at Canal Park, or did Glendale Cemetary really hire a herd of goats to trim the shrubs?

The Akron Digital Media Center encourages grassroots media literacy and education through free classes in videography, citizen journalism, photography, mobile media and social media. The program fills a void that currently exists in hyperlocal information-sharing, giving a voice to all residents who wish to participate. The Center is open to anyone, regardless of demographic, age or skill level. Stories created from the Media Center’s activities are featured on

(Breaking news – Akron Digital Media Center will be offering free mobile media training* during the Akron Art Walk this coming Saturday, August 2.)

Journalism drone from the Akron Digital Media CenterNow, the Akron Digital Media Center is partnering with the Akron Mini Maker Faire to bring you all the latest about the biggest Maker event in town.  Last year they flew their R/C journalism drone around the first floor of Main Library.  Who know what they’ll think of this year?

Thank you, Akron Digital Media Center, for sponsoring the Akron Mini Maker Faire.

*Mobile media training – what’s that? It’s using your smartphone or other mobile device (like an iPad or other tablet) to be a citizen journalist.

Egg Drop!

Target - Egg DropIt was one of the most popular Maker exhibits in 2013, and yes, it will make a repeat appearance in 2014.  We’re talking about the SciTech Egg Drop – where everyone gets a chance to toss something over the railing and watch it crash into the floor in Science & Technology 30 feet below.  And, library security guards are going to let you do it!

All participants will be issued a cardboard box and an uncooked egg.  We’ll have loads of packaging material for you to customize a padded case for your fragile cargo.  When you’re happy with what you have constructed, it’s Eggs Away! over the railing to the target.

Last year more than 100 eggs were dropped, and about 40 of them survived the fall.  Was your egg one?

Akron Beacon Journal Celebrates 175 Years

175CLR_vertKeeping Akronites informed  has been the Akron Beacon Journal‘s mission for 175 years. And they have been doing this an award-winning fashion.  In 2012 alone, the newspaper and its online affiliate earned more than 56 awards for journalism excellence for breaking news, feature writing, food writing, sports writing, columns, business reporting and more.

Tha Akron Mini Maker Faire is proud to have the Akron Beacon Journal as a media sponsor.  They’ll make sure you are kept informed on all the latest doings, including the dates for the Call for Makers (August 11 through September 12), where to order your FREE tickets (, or, and even the date and time of the actual event (Saturday, October 18, 11 am to 4 pm).

Thank you, Akron Beacon Journal.  Congratulations on your 175 years, and we wish you success for another 175 more.

How Can I be a Maker

Want to participate in the Akron Mini Maker Faire?  Not sure how to do that?  It’s easy – every interested Maker will need to fill out an online application during our Call for Makers August 11-September 12.  The application will be right here on this website, from a link near the search box in the upper right corner.  You’ll need to provide information like your name and address/phone/email, or course.  We’ll ask if you need internet access, your electricity requirements, and any radio frequencies your exhibit requires. Plus, you’ll need to tell us about your project – include links to any flickr or youtube visuals, your website or blog, any info you can provide which will convince us that your Maker project is cool/fun/inspiring/unique and that you are, too.

After the Call for Makers ends, on September 12, we’ll let you know if your application was successful. Pretty easy, huh?

The Akron Mini Maker Faire will run from 11 am until 4 pm on Saturday, October 18 at the Main Library of the Akron-Summit County Public Library system.  You’ll want to be sure you have the stamina to meet with Faire-goers for all 5 hours – but don’t worry, you can bring along some of your friends and family to keep you company and give you a chance to tour all the other great Maker exhibits yourself.

Looking for a great idea for your Akron Mini Maker Faire exhibit?  Take a look at these posts here and here.  Check out the reads on the Geek Gadgets for the Home Workshop  resource list created by Science & Technology librarians. You can also watch the video which the Akron Digital Media Center created for us from last year’s Faire.

Now, what are you going to Make?

Celebrate Akron

FireworksAkronWho saw the fabulous fireworks display at Lock 3 on the evening of July 4?What a great show, and what a beautiful evening to enjoy it.

Akron has lots of great things happening – we have makerspaces like this and this, an art museum, a super library system, the towpath trail for biking and hiking, a global business accelerator to grow technology manufacturing, Lock 3 for fun events summer and winter, and lots more.

What’s your favorite Akron feature or event? We hope the Akron Mini Maker Faire is on your list.  Makers can submit their application during our Call for Makers, which will run August 11-September 12, right from this website. Maker Faire goers can register on our Event Brite site so we know how many excited people to expect. And everyone can like us on Facebook.