Learning Linux: Maker Stations

image of old self check machineDo you remember our old self-check machines? Maybe not so fondly? Two of them are coming back, but in a good way! When the library added the new self-check machines, there was a question about what to do with the old ones. We tried selling them, but no one wanted them.

I had an idea. Last summer, we had a lot of interest in Raspberry Pi at our maker event. What if we turned the two free-standing units into stations where people could come and play with the RPi?

Building Services refinished the desktops -- they look fantastic, btw. I gutted all of the self-checks for parts to be used in the library or for future Maker Club projects.

image of desktop with monitor, sign explaining the arduino maker station, and turntable

Now, we have two maker stations: one for the Raspberry Pi - a credit-card-sized computer, and the other for the Arduino microcontroller and Linux Mint. If you enjoyed our class on Mint or are otherwise curious about this open-source operating system, come try it out there. That station also features a turntable where you can take your digitize your vinyl records to mp3s, thanks to a donation from a generous patron.

image of desktop with Raspberry Pi and monitor

The Raspberry Pi maker station features the latest model, the Raspberry Pi 2! When you see how power this tiny computer is, you can realize how easily and affordably you can put a computer to work in places you might never have expected, like in robotics or home automation.

I have turned over the keys, so to speak, to these maker stations to our STEAM librarian who has great plans for them.

Both maker stations are located back by the Reference Desk in an area that we have recently opened up. It is a great space for work, study and making!

So, we have kept a lot of material out of the landfill/recycling center by reusing as much as we can. In doing so, we've created something completely new. Come in, take a seat, and learn something new.