CA STEAM 2017 recap

What do a hospital worker, video game designer, and a retired CIA agent have in common? They’ve all contributed to the STEAM realm and were a the highlight of the day for a first time attendee to CA STEAM 2017 conference.

Gokul Krishnan has been doing amazing work as he paves the way for Makerspaces in hospitals. “Maker therapy” is an intriguing way to have patients motivated to move more for needed exercise. And as seen in the following video from intern Ariane at the Innovation Pop-Up Space within the hospital, people can not always have control over their health situations, but at least they can find comfort in controlling their very own inventions:

Tracy Fullerton was another inspirational speaker during CA STEAM 2017. She mentioned that there is a difference between games and digital games. Games have always been around in our culture. Games teach children to follow specific rules in a set environment under certain conditions. This directly translates to situations in school settings, communal places, and the work force. Gaming is very relevant to our world today and everyone should be encouraged to play; even the weird ones that Tracy ideally wants sent her way at USC!

Carmen Medina rounded out the trio of special guests during Day 2 of CA STEAM. Her explanation of the science and art of diverse thinking would resonate with anyone working within a team. Diverse conflict is definitely needed to bring out the best ideas. She shared a good rule to keep in mind, “Diversity leads to better outcomes even when the dissenters are wrong”. It’s not always easy dealing with conflict, but we should remember to take things one day at a time.

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The exhibit hall also had wonderful vendors! There were some familiar names like TinkerCAD, Autodesk, Raspberry Pi, Cubelets, Dash & Dot, Makey Makey, Keva Planks, and Lego Mindstorms to name a few; most of which are now available at South San Francisco Public Library! It was a great 2 day conference for educators and student makers alike! There were impressive student showcases in the Makerspace with students explaining their robotics projects. We’ll be looking forward to next year’s conference in Long Beach. If you decide to go, maybe we’ll see you there!


Giant Makey Makey Piano

We’ve constructed a giant Makey Makey Piano at Main library! Come play the piano, learn about music, Makey Makey, and Scratch programming!

The piano took our team a couple weeks to complete. Special thanks to Jennyjean8675309 for creating an awesome tutorial on Instructables:

The piano keys are made from two pieces of cardboard with foil on one side of each. The foil sides are facing each other and separated by foam. When a user steps onto the key, the foam compresses allowing the foil pieces to touch. The pieces of foil are individually wired to the Makey Makey. When the foil pieces touch, a circuit is closed that the Makey Makey reads as an input. The Scratch program plays the piano note as an output through speakers.

Piano Cover

Once all the keys were cut, foiled, lined with foam, and wired to the Makey Makey, a piano cover was created. A Scratch program was remixed to fit our piano. And although the black keys are not functional, it is still pretty fun to play around on! Nice work everyone!

Note: Piano has been re-configured after posting the above video in order to reflect a more realistic piano!

Winter Technology & Makerspace Classes

Our lineup for winter 2018 is available now! Check out our digital trifold below:

Front side of brochureDecember through February events

Are there any workshops that you’re excited to attend? Any classes that you’d like us to offer? Leave us a comment or send a message to any of our social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!



ALA International Games Week Recap

International Games Week was from Sunday, October 29th through Saturday, November 4th! Here’s what South San Francisco Public Library had lined up:

International Games Week Schedule

Sunday: Board Games brought classic games for patrons to play with like Monopoly, Guess Who, Mouse Trap, Trouble and Jenga!

Monday: Google Cardboard was a hit with many young learners interested in the world of virtual reality.  These youngsters were able to play the drive simulator and ride through the roller coaster app along with other fun things available for free on Android and iOS smart phones.  Families enjoyed learning about the low cost entry into VR and are looking forward to SSFPL’s Oculus Rift and HTC touch demonstrations next month.

Tuesday: Console Games brought nostalgia for some and for others a newfound appreciation for crisp graphics. We had a Sega Genesis, Wii U, and an X-box on hand for patrons to take on library staff in a friendly competition of hand and eye coordination.

Wednesday: International Games had everything set out from Mancala, Chinese Checkers, Chess, Dominoes, Guess Who, Mouse Trap, Scrabble, Minion Memory, and Mahjong! Patrons appreciated the welcoming atmosphere for making new friends, learning new games, and a relaxing break after a long day at school.

Thursday: Laptop Computer Games was a smash hit with participants!  With the growing popularity of laptops and video games, it was no surprise that the combination of the two would be a success.

Friday: Escape Room Our Escape Room received a warm welcome with all three sessions being completely booked!

Escape Room props

Will players have enough time to find all the keys and make an escape?

Teams were allotted 60 minutes to solve our five rooms of challenging and creative puzzle mysteries where teamwork and communication were keys to success!

Saturday: Dash Racing and Card Games was a hit with all of the kids! Participants connected iPads to each Dash robot and raced around the room like there was no tomorrow.  Competition filled the room and excitement was in the air.

Overall, it was a fantastic week! Thank you to all those that came to participate and we look forward to having another fun filled games week next year!

Parks & Rec Camp Visits

We recently had a series of visits from “the yellow shirts”, or to be more exact, summer camp kids from Parks & Rec. What better way is there to keep kids both educated and entertained than to introduce them to our makerspace gadgets? We arranged our auditorium with about 3-4 stations, each table with its own featured item.

Image result for snap circuits

For example, one table would be our designated Snap Circuits (shown above) table. If kids were interested, they could hop on over to this station and tinker with various projects and learn about the basic concepts of circuits.

On our stage area, we set up all of our robotic toys which actually grew to be quite popular! Our visitors spent nearly most of their time experimenting with robot concepts and were especially interested in Cubelets. The kids would try a variety of colored cubes and see what each function was.



Learning to Use The Silhouette Cameo 2

As a part of our 3D Design series, kids were able to learn how to use the Silhouette Cameo 2 cutting machine. They also explored the capabilities of the Inkscape graphics software and the Silhouette Studio designing software. In this class the students learned how to operate this CNC machine step by step, beginning with creating a design to use in the graphics software.

A CNC machine uses Computer Numerical Control to automate tools. In this case, the Cameo is our CNC machine that relies on a laptop to send automated controls for the razor blade tool to cut out fun shapes and designs in paper! Read more about the Cameo and awesome projects on our Cameo description page located here:



Makerspace Community at Grand

Our makerspace community over at the Grand Avenue branch is not wasting any time utilizing the new equipment. Children have taken the initiative to work together and show each other how to build.


Whether they are learning on their own, with a buddy or their parent, children have a great time.


Pictured below is one of our long time members showing new members how to use the Ultimaker 3.


Junior Engineers Build at the Library!

Yesterday at our Junior Engineers programs held at both the West Orange Library and the Grand Branch, children were able to let their imaginations run free. They were able to build like architects using Keva Planks, think like circuit design engineers using Snap Circuits and explore their creative side using ShapeMags. In addition to the equipment they utilized to design and create, they were able to build a welcoming community of makers! We welcome youth of all ages to explore the Makerspaces over at our West Orange and Grand locations.




True or Fake News? How to Tell the Difference

Welcome to the era of technology and information. With easy access to tons of information and resources, it’s hard to determine what is credible and what isn’t. This development presents a dangerous threat to our society as individuals hear and believe false stories. We’re here to help!  Come to the course and learn how to recognize fake news when you see it.

Thursday, June 29 at 6PM – Main Library


3D Design Courses – June 2017

Interested in creating objects on our Ultimaker 3D printers or our Silhouette Cameo cutting machine? If so, join us for a series of classes we will be offering throughout the month of June at both the Main library and our Grand location! As we go through the courses we will discuss using Tinkercad software to create 3D designs, operating the Ultimaker 3D printer and getting started with the Silhouette Cameo.



Create your own designs in TinkerCAD, a free software for creating .stl or .obj files which our Ultimaker 3D printers will be able to print.

Friday, June 16, 2pm – Grand

Ultimaker 3D printing

Learn how to use the Ultimaker 3D printer! It all starts with finding a file from the ThingIverse database, downloading to an SD card, then choosing settings in Cura 3D splicing software.

Tuesday, June 20, 2pm – Main
Friday, June 23, 2pm – Grand

Silhouette Cameo

Find out how to use the Silhouette Cameo for awesome paper crafts!

Tuesday, June 27, 2pm – Main
Friday, June 30, 2pm – Grand