The Watertown Library and the Arsenal Mall teamed up to create a spot in town where residents can use a 3-D printer, create electronic music and learn jewelry making.
Watertown Free Public Library’s makerspace, known as HATCH, officially opened at the end of January in a storefront inside the mall, a few doors down from Dunkin’ Donuts. Assistant Library Director Caitlin Browne thanked the mall for offering the space.
“If you guys did n;t open the space to us we would still be at the library waiting,” Browne said. “We had been waiting to do this for two years.”
Bill McQuillin of Boylston Properties, the owners of the Arsenal Project, said he was happy to help the library.
“When we bought the mall, we didn’t know a whole lot of fun would break out,” McQuillin said. “We are delighted to make space available to the makerspace for the next two years.”
Volunteers keep HATCH open and run classes to show people how to do a variety of activities. At the grand opening, Chris Ernenwein showed a group of children some chain mail he made out of small metal rings.
“I have aluminum rings to use with kids,” he said, adding that the aluminum can be bent by hand. “For the most part, with stronger metal, we use pliers, but you don’t want to give kids pliers to play with.”
He also showed off jewelry which he made using a similar method of joining rings.
Ross Nanopoulos showed people some things you can do with Little Bits – easy to use electronics.
“It is create for kids,” Nanopoulos said. “There are plenty of do-it-yourself things you can do.”
Mike Preran set up electronic music makers, including beams of light that make a tone when someone interrupts the beam by putting their hand in front of it, and paint bucket lids hooked up so the make drum sounds when you tap on them.
“We can make whatever sound you want – electric guitar, violin, horses …” Preran said.
The volunteers are key to running HATCH, because the makerspace does not use paid library staff, Browne said.
“We are looking for more volunteers – even if you don’t think you are creative and can teach,” Browne said. “We need people just to keep us open.”
When the two years at the mall is up, HATCH will move to a new home, but Browne said she is not sure where that will be.
“We would like to take over the old Police Station, but we don’t know what will happen with that building,” Browne said.
For more information about HATCH, including a schedule of classes, visit watertownlib.org/hatch.