Cornell students were introduced to button makers, 3-D printers and a virtual reality room at the grand opening of MannUfactory — a new makerspace in Mann Library — on Thursday afternoon.
According to Camille Andrews, emerging literacies librarian at Mann Library, the University conceptualized the project in 2015, then hosted pop-up makerspace events across campus to generate feedback about what equipment and services interested students.
Cornell University Library provided the funding for the project.
Joyee Mok ’20, a student employee at MannUfactory, told The Sun that the space “combines tech with arts and crafts” and is “a great space for students to come and let their creative juices flow.”
Although certain services MannUfactory provides are offered elsewhere on campus, Andrews said this space is especially meant for individuals whose majors are unrelated to hands-on making or who do not have access to makerspaces. Students, staff and other members of the Cornell community are invited to use the space even if they lack prior experience.
“It’s a place where anyone can come to create anything,” Andrews told The Sun.
As such, Andrews noted that student and full time staff are available to help visitors to MannUFactory. The new collaborative and creative project space also plans to hold workshops throughout the year and partner with courses and student organizations.
“Part of the library’s mission is to provide access to everybody,” said Sara E. Wright, head of learning, spaces and technology at Mann Library. “I hope that people will find this to be a comfortable, welcoming space to come and try new things and be exposed to knowledge outside of their usual departments.”
Barkha Kagliwal grad attended a pop up event and expressed her overall excitement for the grand opening.
“It’s a fun, friendly space, and I could bring my future classes here,” she told The Sun.
Emine Özen ’21 said she hopes to take advantage of the new makerspace by attending future workshops and discovering specific skills.
“I’d like to learn the basics of designing prototypes,” Özen said. “We might all be able to have our own 3-D printers one day.”
In addition to six 3-D printers, an HTC Vive virtual reality system, a specialty printer and sewing machines, the MannUfactory offers tool kits, a Raspberry Pi miniature computer, yarn and glue guns. The room can be found just off of the main lobby in Mann Library and will be open Mondays through Thursdays.
“We hope this place will be a low-pressure environment to foster collaboration, teamwork, innovation and experimentation,” Wright said.