Regina Public Library turns branch into innovative learning space

REGINA – The Regina Public Library (RPL) brought together residents with all sorts of similar interests on Friday and Saturday as part of the Maker 2015 event at the Regent Place Branch.

The initiative taught people how to do all sorts of things such as writing code, using a 3-D printer (which is now available at the library for public use) and even how to brew homemade beer.

“You can make a beer on your own,” said Parker Willfong, a member of the Ale and Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan and who had an exhibit set up as part of the event. “The liquor store only has so much selection of beer.”

“The four basic ingredients of a beer is your water, your malt, your hops and your yeast,” Willfong explained during a presentation.

Learning how to make your own homemade brew isn’t typically what you would expect to be able to do at a library, but it is the reaction the library was anticipating from the public.

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“We have a number of the creative organizations in the community who have come together to put on displays and talk to patrons and the public about the creative ventures and how to pull community together through creativity,” said Jeff Barber, the president of RPL.

That creativity includes allowing the public to connect with ‘makers’ and creators in the community to socialize and collaborate on ideas and the endless possibilities when being creative.

“If you like to add wood to yours, like you want a wood age, then you can add wood chips, you can add wood sticks to it,” noted Willfong as he highlights the unique ways to make beer suited to personal taste. “There’s just an endless amount of creativity that can come from brewing your own beer at home”

The whole initiative is in fact a different taste of learning which is geared at expanding the library’s role in the community.

“It’s helping people improve their lives, and whether it’s information for work, whether it’s simply recreational reading or whether it’s learning how to do a hobby, we bring people together and help them learn about that,” said Barber.

The experience left one resident feeling impressed.

“Wow! There’s so many opportunities for children and adults here, it’s great!” said Diane Johnson, who attended the event with her daughter.

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“Parents come in here with their kids to show them the Lego and the 3-D printer and then the parents come over here and say ‘Oh wow I can brew my own beer at home?” said Willfong.

RPL say they were impressed with the turnout and hope that residents take advantage of the library’s new offerings.

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