The SFU W.A.C Bennett library at the Burnaby campus will be getting a new Media and Maker Commons space which is slated to open in fall 2019.
The new space, set to be located in the southwest corner of the library’s main floor, will have 3D-printers, a laser cutter, a sewing machine, a working antique letterpress, open benches for project work, small electronics, and other features, according to Gwen Bird, university librarian and dean of libraries in an email interview with The Peak.
“The goal is to create a student-focused space that will support students’ creative curricular and co-curricular work,” said Bird. “It’s meant to be a place for students to meet and work together on creative projects.”
Some of the projects that students will be able to work on in the space include course assignments, such as: “when students are given the opportunity to build a prototype for an entrepreneurial idea, or to produce a short video instead of writing a paper to demonstrate their learning in a course,” said Bird.
The Media and Maker Commons will also house a podcasting studio, a “one-button” AV studio, and a small editing suite. In addition, workshops and training will be provided for some of the equipment.
Construction for the new space began in fall 2018. Once complete, it will be open to SFU students, faculty, and staff. The development is funded by SFU’s Capital Planning Steering Committee, SFU Innovates, along with some money from the Bennett library’s endowments, according to Bird.
Bird explained that a lot of the aforementioned equipment is currently available at certain SFU faculties, departments, and labs throughout the three SFU campuses. However, in those cases, only students who are taking a specific course or are enrolled in a specific program have access to the equipment.
“By basing this facility in the W.A.C Bennett Library, it will be open to all students, and open [for] longer hours,” said Bird.
When asked if a similar space will be developed at the SFU Surrey and Vancouver libraries, Bird mentioned that there is interest in similar spaces, especially at the Surrey campus, but she doesn’t know if there are any plans to install this kind of facility at the satellite campuses.
When asked if the services will be provided for free and if students have to book the equipment ahead of time, Bird responded: ‘We are still working out the exact service model. Some equipment will likely need to be booked, while others will have open availability. Some materials will be provided, but there may be cost-recovery associated with some of the consumable materials provided.”
“We are excited to launch this new space for all SFU students,” Bird concluded. “You’ll soon start to see some of our promotional materials around campus asking the question, ‘What will you make?’”