By Kayli Corbin
Photography by Emma Thompson
The Meridian Library District (MLD) has a history of contribution in our community dating back to the early 1900s. Their rich chronicle of information sharing and education has undoubtedly played a significant role in the development of countless lives. As technology advances, the needs of the community shift and MLD has been there to match those needs.
With three physical locations (Cherry Lane, Silverstone, and Tiny Library), an outreach program that includes the famous bookmobile, digital services including a library catalog app, and a technology focused branch called unBound – it’s easy to see the many ways MLD gives back. They’re even working on a new location in downtown Meridian that’s slated to open in Fall of 2020. One of their newest features is the Labrary, a space at the Silverstone Location designed for anyone interested in exploring a rotating variety of STEM and making resources.
Travis Porter of MLD shared, “Over the last few years, we have invested in STEM resources that we use during formalized programs. However, it seemed a shame to us that other than those programs, these materials largely sat in storage. Our idea for the LABrary space, was to present these materials with a bit of guidance so people can explore and play with things like circuitry kits, robots, coding toys, and more. Each month the LABrary features a theme with three related activities. For example, October’s theme is circuits. We have different kits and educational toys on display at each of the three creation stations. Anyone is welcome to come explore the activities for as long as they want.”
This space is open to the public during operating hours of the library. They feature a weekly open LABrary hour on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and have staff available to answer questions and provide guidance on the available materials.
The value this space provides to the community is almost unquantifiable. Travis shared his perspective about the LABrary and its unique contributions. “There are so many creative uses and opportunities for learning with these materials, people just need the time to sit down and explore. We hear from parents that they want to introduce STEM concepts to their children and often don’t know where to start. The LABrary provides the materials and the space for everyone to use these materials to see what things spark an interest. Whether it’s 3D design, coding, sewing, or any other facets of STEM and the Maker Movement, there’s something new to explore.”
The LABrary was made possible by a generous grant from Power Engineers through its Power Foundation as well as a grant from the Idaho STEM Action Center. This space offers everything from blocks to 3D printing material. Some of the crowd favorites are a simulated earthquake machine and wooden circuits. They recently hosted a father and daughter workshop with Snap Circuits kits to build working FM Radios!
The events don’t stop there! The Meridian Library District offers a wide variety of workshops to the public. Each week they offer over 80 free programs across the district. Each branch offers printed brochures of what events are upcoming. You can also view their online catalog and follow @MeridianLibrary on Instagram or Facebook for the most up-to-date information. Here are a few activities coming up that you won’t want to miss:
Dia de los Muertos – October 26th from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Silverstone Branch
Families are invited to celebrate and learn about the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This is an all-ages event with activities for the entire family. There will be crafts, games, food and face painting for all.
Family Art Night – October 3rd and November 7th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Cherry Lane Location
Bring the family for an evening of art and fun! We’ll explore various art concepts and mediums, and collaborate as families. Parents will need to accompany children. Supplies are limited, so spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Refreshments provided.
Trunk or Treat – October 26th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Downtown Meridian
Dress up and come on down to Meridian’s annual Trunk or Treat celebration. Costumes, candy, and a guaranteed good time for the whole family. What do you think the Bookmobile will be dressed as this year?
Ready Player One Escape Room – November 16th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cherry Lane Location
It is 2045 and you are part of the virtual world of the OASIS which is under threat from the Innovative Online Industries, IOI. You must collect three keys to win the golden egg and protect reality as you know it! This escape room is open to 6 participants, ages 8+. Register online at mld.org.