The Launch Pad at the Daytona Beach Regional Library, a branch of Volusia County Public Library, started as an idea to repurpose an underused area and be able to provide new and exciting technology and programs for our patrons. Months of planning, weeding and hard work allowed the room to evolve into a multi-use, flexible workspace with Wi-Fi, power and a presentation area.
Along the way news about our makerspace idea was shared through a casual conversation between Library staff and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University staff. This discussion lead to the agreement that our goals aligned. We wanted to provide the public with access to technology and equipment that might otherwise be unavailable and to reach out to an underserved population of middle school and high school age students. Sparking an interest in science, technology, engineering and math in these students would in the future provide prospective students for ERAU programs.
Through a Memorandum of Agreement Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University pledged to provide funding for two years. Our technology acquisitions the first year included two high end computers and software, a two color 3D printer and several Little Bits and Arduino kits. Students visiting the Launch Pad are able to explore basic circuits and robotics, create animation through coding, build with legos and learn about controlled flight through the use of drones and flight simulation software.
Our wish list is growing for our second year of funding as we gather ideas from citizens using the new Launch Pad.
The Friends of the Daytona Beach Library also provided ongoing funding to open and sustain the Launch Pad including furniture and supplies.
Launch Pad Maker space at the Daytona Beach Regional Library opened to the public September 21, 2015 and has been a popular location since then. A variety of groups now meet in the Launch Pad including a local Hacker group and several crafting classes. We are currently planning a Teen Tech Summer Camp to take place in the Launch Pad later in July. A growing number of patrons are using our Launch Pad to launch a hobby, education, career or business!