New Zealand Library Work: Tūhura HIVE Makerspace

Another reason why I made the decision to make the leap to my current job was that there was a brand new Makerspace in the Johnsonville Library @ Waitohi Community Hub. Named Tūhura HIVE Makerspace, this was a fully developed and organized library makerspace that would sit in the new library. This would be the first library makerspace of its kind in Wellington, New Zealand. I arrived to find Tūhura HIVE perfectly set up by Jamie Boorman, the one and only Makerspace Specialist in my library system. Multiple 3D printers, a laser cutter, sewing machines, a recording studio, and tons of gadgets, the space was decked out with an amazing array of technology and a focus on delivering something new and fun for the community.

Tūhura HIVE is our makerspace and sound studio, located on the lower ground floor of Johnsonville Library at the Waitohi Community Hub. It is a community space where people of all ages can explore, create, innovate and engage with all kinds of maker technology. From 3D printing, audio recording, coding, robotics and electronics, to sewing, weaving and more, we offer endless opportunities for everyone to get inspired and create. Come visit us — we’d love to see you!

Tūhura HIVE Makerspace is one of the truest collaborations that I have ever had in a library. The team working in and around the space have been key to the development and growth of this space. I came into the project at the very end, and I was simply stunned by how much had been setup before I got here. It was a job well done. Many of the initiatives and direction for Tūhura HIVE Makerspace came directly from the team. As their Team Leader, it was part of my leadership role to say YES to their amazing ideas and to then support them through the ups and downs. Working with the Tūhura HIVE Makerspace staff has been a highlight for me.

From a leadership point of view, I brought ideas to the team about organization, work flow, materials management, and other things like that. I encouraged that we develop our own queuing system for the jobs that were coming through Tūhura HIVE Makerspace. I made small suggestions on the services we could offer, the gadgets we kept around, and other little details like that. While in an ideal world every service and consumable used by the community in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace would be free of charge, I had to be based in reality and come up with ideas around pricing for use of certain consumables (plastic & wood mostly) as well a rate for using the recording studio (2 hours free, $17.90 NZD after that). For this leadership role in working with Tūhura HIVE Makerspace I was finally able to step back from the day to day makerspace work I did at the Chattanooga Public Library and put on my “strategic leader” hat. My role here is to support the staff working in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace and to also provide guidance to help not only deliver the best makerspace today but to get all things ready for the future.

STAFFING, like I talked about in my previous post, was an issue from the get-go. The plan was that the space would have one dedicated staff member in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace working 38.5 hours/week. The other times would be filled in by other library staff working in a customer service role. This was decided at a time long before we knew that Johnsonville Library @ Waitohi Community Hub would see a 112% increase in visits. We quickly found out that we were not going to be able to get additional staffing to help with the space, so we had to make some decisions.

Tūhura HIVE Makerspace was suppossed to be open to the public just like Johnsonville Library @ Waitohi Community Hub, which is open for 59.5 hours/week. It quickly became apparant that due to us only having one dedicated staff member in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace working 38.5 hours/week and then filling in the gaps with other staff who had other obligations in the much busier new library that we would have to change when Tūhura HIVE Makerspace was open to the public. After realistically looking at the work the entire library faced and our much bigger staffing issue, it was decided in late 2020 that the opening hours for Tūhura HIVE Makerspace would change to 51.25 hours/week. This change not only allowed us to better staff the space but to also have maintenance time for the many machines and computers found in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace.

The other choice, and one that was especially hard for me, was that Tūhura HIVE Makerspace had to cancel all planned programmes & events. The planning team for Tūhura HIVE Makerspace had originally hoped that there would be workshops and other events happening daily. There was even a plan for this. But sadly, the bleak overall staffing picture couldn’t even support daily operations let alone additional programmes & events. There is a silver lining to this story however. I went back to the original idea for The 2nd Floor @ Chattanooga Public Library. This idea was simple: what if the programmes & events we had in our space started happening the moment we opened to the public, and that a majority of these programmes & events were driven by the participants interests? This model, which over the years has become known as “drop in or passive programming” became the way forward for Tūhura HIVE Makerspace. We would operate the space as needed and then as our community came into the space adapt to their needs in the moment. Is it a perfect system? No, but it works most of the time and that has helped us stablize Tūhura HIVE Makerspace and make it functional for our community.

But one final thing on staffing: there was still a very clear need for additional staffing. With the help of my manager Laurinda Thomas (a great, patient, and kind human being), I was able to develop a case for a new role, titled Team Member, Makerspace Service Delivery. I wish this role could’ve been in place when I developed it (March 2020) but it wasn’t until February 2021 when I got the approval to move ahead with this role. The goal for this role was simple: to be a person who worked only in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace delivering only the services found within the makerspace. That role became a reality just a few weeks ago, and it has been a great joy to have Hadleigh Bodle working in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace for 27 hours/week.(if you’d like to see all of the prep work to make this job a reality, email me)

As I briefly discussed earlier, the services and tools found in Tūhura HIVE Makerspace were all beautifully planned out well in advance. If you’d like, you can see a full list of those tools here (but please know that we’ve updated some of them since originally publishing this list and we will need to update this page once again ASAP!) What did we learn? Well, we learned that people like 3D printing but it wasn’t the biggest service that we offered. That went to our laser cutter. This machine was popular beyond all of our imagination so much that we had to get a replacement in the space in early 2021. The sewing machines also became quite a popular tool for the community to use. This was the machine where the community learning shined…it was the community that taught us (and others) how to properly use the machines. This was an amazing thing to watch in real-time. Another amazing feature of the space was a recording studio. This space (details found below) was embraced by not only musicians, but also those adding sound to their films and those working in podcasts.

Here at Tūhura HIVE, we have contructed a studio for you to come in and record and edit your musical and video creations. We used the philosophy of ‘Your best home setup’, so everything you do in the studio you can conceivably do at home. This is something very new for us, and everytime the studio is used we are learning along with you. The studio is free for the first two hours of usage, then is $17.50p/hr after that. We have listed some of our gear below. Bookings are essential; to book please email us your name, and prefered date and time to:

Studio Gear

  • Software: Logic Pro X, Garage Band, Da Vinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro
  • Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 Gen3
  • Microphones: Rode NT-1a, Shure SM57, Shure SM58, AKG P170
  • Audio Monitors: Mackie CR4BT 4″ Multimedia Monitors
  • Control Surface: Korg nanoKONTROL Studio
  • MIDI Keyboard: Icon Pro Audio iKeyboard 8Nano
  • Electric Drums: Alesis Nitro Mesh 8-Piece kit
  • Electric Guitar: Squier Bullet Mustang
  • Guitar amp: Marshall CODE50
  • Bass Guitar: ESP LTD B10

Please note: no project that has even happened has been done alone, and all of the projects I talked about in this post are no different. They are all the hard work of many individualsWithout others, none of these projects would exist or they’d all fall apart. There is a never-ending list of people who have been involved in these projects, and they all know who they are. I thank you each and every one of you for being awesome, supportive, hard working, and kind during these projects. You made a positive impact.

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