Wright State University students who want to learn how to play the ukulele or bake red velvet cupcakes or repair that wobbly doorknob in their apartment have a new resource on campus.
Raider Maker Kits are available for checkout at the circulation desk on the first floor of Dunbar Library. The kits were created by the Student Technology Assistance Center (STAC), which is on the second floor of the library.
The kits are designed to help students, faculty and staff learn new skills and produce school projects or organization events without having to buy the equipment.
“It seems like a natural extension of what we already do in the STAC,” said David Reyes, STAC coordinator.
The STAC, a service of University Libraries, already provides the use of ready-to-go audio and video recording kits, 3D printers, hands-on workshops and the Pod, a room that enables students to do recording projects.
“As a librarian, one of the things I think is common is getting people out of the habit of assuming that information only equals books,” said Reyes. “Here, the function of the STAC is to showcase that as academic work advances, it can show up in a variety of mediums.”
The Raider Maker Kits project was inspired by kits offered by the Dayton Public and Greene County libraries as well as libraries at other universities. It was funded by a $650 award from Friends of the Library.
The robot kit, which comes in a yellow plastic case, is designed to help the users write basic computer code.
“A person is able to plug it into a laptop computer and using the software, program the robot to respond to commands,” said Reyes. “It can move forward, turn around, make sounds, change colors. It’s basically a physical embodiment of the coding process.”
Other kits are a bit more practical for everyday use. The tool kit includes screwdrivers, pliers, scissors, a box cutter, a hammer and other tools.
The kits also enable the users to try something new or use the kit once without having to buy tools or equipment they will rarely use again.
For example, one kit comes with a ukulele that includes a tuner and a chart that teaches chord progression.
“If they are interested in tinkering with an instrument, they don’t have to go buy one and then potentially sell it three months later because it’s not for them,” Reyes said. “And maybe the ukulele will inspire students to take up a musical instrument or take a career path they hadn’t considered before.”
The arts-and-crafts kit features special markers in a rainbow of colors that can write on glass. There are also watercolor brushes, paper and a project idea book.
The kit is ideal for people and student organizations that want to make posters and handouts for one-time campus events.
The baking kit includes a muffin tin, small cake pan, a spatula and frosting spreaders including tips. It is designed for beginning bakers who don’t want to invest in pans, utensils and other baking equipment, at least not initially.
“There are so many different gadgets out there that it can be overwhelming,” said Reyes. “They are able to use the kit, clean it up and return it. That is one we really like a lot.”
The kits can be checked out for seven days at a time by students, faculty and staff using their Wright1 cards.
So far, the baking and arts-and-crafts kits have been the most popular.
“They both appeal to students who might be planning events,” Reyes said.