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FabLab Project opens up Sanibel Library as a destination for kids

November 19, 2014
By BRIAN WIERIMA ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Lee County Public School students didn't have school Monday, Nov. 10, so the Sanibel Public Library kicked off the new FabLab-a place to learn, create and design.

Barbara Dunkle, Children's Librarian at Sanibel Public Library said it was an opportune time for the kids of Sanibel to check out the new items available to them in the library.

"FabLab is an area for school-aged children to try their hand at creating something like a marble run or maybe a catapult, build things with Strawbees, Legos or Keva planks," Dunkle said.

Article Photos

There were several tables full of anxious kids, ready to create their masterpieces inside the Sanibel Public Library Monday, Nov. 10, during the kickoff of the FabLab Project.

Brian Wierima

Kids can play with Snap Circuits, K'NEX or make an Art bot-a robot with markers for "legs" that wobbles across a piece of paper, creating drawings as it moves."

"Libraries are starting to offer 'makerspaces,' sometimes also called 'hackerspaces,' a DIY area where boys and girls can gather to tinker, dream, investigate and build," Dunkle said.

Over 30 kids who had the day off from school participated in the FabLab. The fun items introduced Monday will be available to kids of any age during the weekday hours inside the library.

"We want the library to become a destination for the kids, a place for them to come in and stay, while learning how to work together," Dunkle said.

Other items which will be available to youth, include Snap Circuits kits, which contain color-coded real circuit components that link together to create working electronic circuits and devices.

Recommended for children 8 and older, Snap Circuits provides do-it-yourself projects that teach how electronics work. K'NEX is a building system with interlocking plastic rods, connectors, gears, wheels, and other components, which can be pieced together to form a wide variety of models, machines, and architectural structures.

KEVA planks are designed to help foster an understanding of proportion and balance while teaching the basic principles of physics and engineering.

Strawbees are connection parts that enable kids to build mechanical constructions with drinking straws. These are just some of the things that will be available all the time in the Sanibel Public Library's children's FabLab area.

The kids made creations like an art bot, a hovercraft, a catapult or steampunk.

"They all had a fun time and stayed for over two hours," said Community Outreach Coordinator Maureen Tesoro. "Now, they can come in anytime to use make their creations."

A complete list of children's programs are listed on the Library's website. Residents as well as non-residents are invited, and there is no additional cost to participate. For more information about the Sanibel Public Library, call (239) 472-2483 or visit online at



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