Reading & Learning

The makerspace at South San Francisco Public Library aims to provide a fun environment for children to enjoy reading and put their learning into action via different items available in the space. The items teach different skills from basic circuitry to design thinking in an engaging way!

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South San Francisco regularly hosts class visits for students to explore the library on their own as well as to gain a personal introduction to items available to them whenever the library is open! Schedule a makerspace class visit with us today!

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Mario Party

Last Friday we held our Mario Party where about 20 patrons attended to use the Nintendo Labo Builds that we’ve been constructing over the past month. There were quite a few things to do besides play video games like a DIY Mario Visor with instructions via, creating CubeeCrafts of Question and brick blocks, as well as decorating a take home Boo or Chomp Chomp balloon! There was also a green screen available and here’s some pictures that our patrons posed for:

Thanks for attending and we hope to see you next time for another fun filled International Games Week! International Games Week Flyer

October 2018 Recap

We had a ton of programs this past month including special guests from TeenTech SF and VGM! Below is a recap of featured events at South San Francisco Public Library:

  1. Nintendo Labo House Building
  2. Nintendo Labo Robot Building
  3. Alex Mezroth from VGM presenting Playtest
  4. Nintendo Labo Motorcycle Building
  5. TeenTechSF presents Website Development
  6. 3D Printed Jack-O-Lanterns Faces
  7. Kanopy Kids
  8. Nintendo Labo Piano Building


October 4th at Grand Avenue Library

Nintendo Labo House Building
















Assembling the Nintendo Labo House was a fun way for participants to learn about sensors and push buttons. The house for one person alone to build usually takes 2-3 hours, but our team of 10 was able to complete the build in about 40 minutes! Great job #ssfmakers!

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October 12th at West Orange Library

Nintendo Labo Robot Building



We had the second half of building the Nintendo Labo Robot! Children learned more about sensors and pulleys in this engineering session. The robot typically takes a single person 3-4 hours to build. Our first session was completed most of the build during the full hour. And our clean-up crew of 4 for the second build were able to fully construct the remaining part of the robot in 20 minutes!

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October 12th at West Orange Library

Alex Mezroth from VGM presenting Playtest

Alex Roth from VGM

Video games can be more than just entertainment! 20 individuals learned from President of VGM, Alex Metzroth, how play testing works for research and development of video games. Ultimately, beta testers can influence the story line and game play of certain video game titles. Video game design often includes several cross disciplinary team members to work collaboratively on music, animation, character design, background and set design, story line, voice acting, and programming. Thank you Alex for the great intro into the world of play testing!

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October 18th at Grand Avenue Library

Nintendo Labo Motorcycle Building

Motorcycle build

The motorcycle typically takes a single person 1.5 to 2.5 hours to build. But our team of 15 young makers were able to complete this build in an hour! After the building session, we had fun playing with all of the builds created so far including the RC car, fishing rod, and robot!

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October 20th at West Orange Library

TeenTechSF presents Website Development

Teen Tech SFTTSF_CodePen

TeenTech SF gave an informative presentation of how to use CodePen.IO for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We learned about basic HTML format, using opening and closing tags, how to add and resize images as well as how to created ordered and unordered lists. The second half of TeenTech SF’s presentation featured a mini hack-a-thon where 15 participants created their very own website! Thanks TeenTech SF for a fun filled Saturday morning!

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October 22nd at Grand Avenue Library

3D Printed Jack-O-Lanterns Faces

Jack-O-Lantern Face








In this digital workshop, we examined the navigation of the online based 3D design resource from! Patrons learned how files from 3D printing database, can be customized using TinkerCAD. After a brief demonstration and run through, 18 participants were able to grasp the concepts and were ready to try things on their own. Motor control, patience, and a little extra time were needed to print their custom Jack-o-Lantern face designs out on our 3D printers!

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October 24th and West Orange Library

Kanopy Kids

Our newly added service was featured in this program! Kanopy Kids is free to everyone with a South San Francisco Public Library card. This online resource allows access to education content as well as read along videos for children. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

J kanopy 1018.png

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October 26th at West Orange Library

Nintendo Labo Piano Building


Our last Nintendo Labo build session was building the piano! This would typically take 2.5 to 3.5 hours for a single person to make! But our team of 4 were able to construct the piano in about an hour and still had time to play with our other builds from previous sessions. The piano had patrons learning about levers, sensors, vibration, pitch, and sound!

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Our events for December 2018 through February 2019 will be available for pickup soon! Coming soon are also recaps about our latest Escape Rooms. Stay tuned!

LittleBits: Bubble Machines

We had two building sessions with LittleBits on September 13th and the 18th.

Young makers learned how to create a LittleBits circuitry by starting with a blue Power Bit. For the simplest bubble machine, only needs two bits were needed; a blue and a green output bit! Children assembled their motor with a 3D printed bubble wand (file from user Golos on ThingiVerse)!

Different pink input bits were then added to the mix with push buttons, dimmer slides, and pressure sensors. After mastery of the small circuits, all that was left was dipping the bubble wands into the bubble solution and let the fans work their magic!

LittleBits are available at West Orange and Grand Avenue libraries for open exploration. Visit our website or pick up a Makerspace TriFold (seen at the bottom of the Summer Recap post) for future events!

2018 Summer Recap

It’s been a busy summer!

Here’s 10 summer highlights including special guests (Summer Learning Challenge performers) and fun filled programs hosted by library staff!

Bay Area Discovery Museum – Try it Truck!

Bats in the Library

Robotics Competition

Shadow Puppets

Park and Rec Visits the Library


Science Club: Atomic Construction

Spencer Grey Magic Show

Sterling Johnson Bubble Show

DIY Mason Jar Fireflies

Bay Area Discovery Museum – Try it Truck!

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The Bay Area Discovery Museum was a hit for hands on exploration at Grand Avenue Library! Be sure to check out this truck whenever you get a chance! There’s plenty of STEM learning projects, activities, and new technology on board!

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Bats in the Library

Live bats were brought into the library for this special program! Children were able to see and learn how bats are good for our ecosystem. Echo location was a fun topic along with bat communication at frequencies that humans can’t hear! There was even a bat simulator which made bat noises audible to human ears.

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Robotics Competition!

West Orange Library hosted a three part series where students learned the 3D design skills to create robot parts using OnShape. Participants were asked to book time with our 3D printers and print pieces out before the next session! Here are some pictures from Part One:

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Part Two included taking these 3D printed parts, other components, and learning how to solder them together to create more permanent electrical connections!

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Part Three included programming these robots to finally race! For a more detailed look at recreating this project, please view written by Frank Zhao whom led our Robotics Competition program series! Thank you, Frank!

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Shadow Puppets

During this captivating sound and light show, our special guest was able to demonstrate several different kinds of instruments! The lights were turned low and we saw paper puppets brought to life by the light box!

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After the shadow puppet show, children created their own puppets and tested them out on the light box!

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Park and Rec Visits

Yearly visits from Park and Rec are always something to look forward to during the summer! Students gain hands on learning with our Makerspace equipment! Contact us if you’d like to arrange a Makerspace or library class visit!

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Led by library assistant, Jovi, kids expressed their inner artist and demonstrated story telling abilities with this installment of STEAM focused on the letter “A” for Art!

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Science Club: Atomic Construction

Science club meets regularly and there’s always tons of fun whether creating slime or as seen in the pictures below, learning about science through construction of atoms!

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Spencer Grey Magic Show

West Orange Library was at full capacity for the Spencer Grey Magic Show! Be sure to view all the photos on our Instagram page!

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Sterling Johnson Bubble Show

The great Sterling Johnson came to visit South San Francisco Public Library as the last special guest of the Summer Learning Challenge!

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DIY Mason Jar Fireflies

Another program at full capacity with quite a few teenagers was the Do-It-Yourself Mason Jar Fireflies program hosted by library assistant, Aris! The fun craft had over 70 patrons using their imagination and motor skills to create beautiful take home projects!

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The Summer Learning Challenge officially ends tomorrow on Friday, August 30th! You still have time to turn in your summer learning logs and claim those prizes!

For more programs and events that South San Francisco Public Library has in store for you this fall, pick up a makerspace brochure or view the digital copy below:

LibLab TriFold 1

LIBLab TriFold 2

Thanks for spending your summer with us and we hope to see you soon!

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Escape the Space Alien- Escape Game Recap

The South San Francisco Public Library has another escape room under its belt! The latest escape game, “Escape the Space Alien”, immersed players within a spacecraft setting while they set out to defeat an evil space alien. Four brave teams of 5-8 space rangers each took the daring challenge.  They had 60 minutes to discover whom the space alien infected, defeat the alien, and escape! Recruits used teamwork and their wit to solve the space alien’s challenging puzzles. Once the alien was found, it was time to create a concoction that would eliminate the foe! Working with the spacecraft’s librarian, recruits solved puzzles and created a “chemical” that would stop the threat.  But with the spacecraft set to self-destruction, the recruits were presented with a new challenge; to find a way out of the spaceship! Once they deciphered the grueling final puzzle, recruits broke free of the final lock and safely returned to Earth.

36333518_10216508345606691_3783540092384051200_n36305148_10216508346086703_5040022011640807424_n36423289_10216508345646692_7741352167885242368_n36342102_10216508345926699_5683178726968262656_nAll four teams bested the challenge!

The first team’s collaboration and determination led to the fastest escape time of 52 minutes and ten seconds!

Our second team cut it close, but they also defeated the evil space alien.

The third team was a mix of experienced players and new-comers. But they had a blast and made quick work of the evil villain.

 The fourth and final team had only five players; 3 members short of a full team. But that didn’t stop them from completing their mission. With a slim 28 seconds left, they became the 4th winners.

This escape room had a 100% completion rate!

Be on the lookout for more escape room and puzzle challenges coming soon!

Incredible Insects Discovery Lab – Grand Avenue Library Experience Recap

Last Saturday, on June 16th, we had the Incredible Insects Lab visit both West Orange Library and Grand Avenue Library. 42 patrons were able to view, hold, and learn about these incredible creatures during the Insect Lab visit to Grand Avenue Library.

Walking stick

Some important take home lessons included awareness of how we can coexist with insects, how insects help our environment, and some tips for relocating bugs instead of using pesticides or chemicals. “The grasshopper is my favorite,” exclaimed several of our young compassionate participants.


Other favorites included two walking sticks and the gentle beetles. We learned the difference between a centipede and a millipede. Madagascar cockroaches demonstrated their speed as well as hissing noises in attempt to ward off predators. We also learned that if you cover a cockroach and leave them in darkness for about 10 seconds, it will effectively stop the bug from running around.


This hands on learning program is one of the many fun opportunities for children to continue learning throughout the summer! Be sure to grab our summer brochure or view our post here. Children that sign up for our Summer Learning Challenge will be able to receive free books and prize packages! Our next fun filled event will be Saturday, June 30th, with Northern California Bats in the library!


GoldieBlox Recap

On June 14th, we held the last workshop of our Inventor’s Challenge series featuring GoldieBlox. The first challenge was to follow along and build an existing invention. The Leap Bot was a favorite!

GoldieBlox Leap Bot

Click play below to see Leap Bot jump into action!

The next challenge was to improve an existing design. One of our creative #ssfmakers decided to combine the Leap Bot with wings in hopes to give the Leap Bot greater hang time in the air:

Combined Leap bot with wings

And lastly, inventor’s were asked to engineer their very own designs from scratch! Here’s a few of their creations:

We had one young inventor notice that we ran out of the long purple pieces, but was able to find a solution by using several smaller pieces to span the desired distance. GoldieBlox teaches engineering, problem solving, and encourages creative thinking. “I’m glad we didn’t miss it!” stated one happy parent. We had a total of 23 builders that all successfully completed the Inventor’s Challenge: GoldieBlox!

Nintendo Labo Recap

On June 7th and 8th we had Nintendo Labo kit building at the library! At Grand Avenue Library, we were able to construct the RC car and the fishing pole.These two kits would normally take an individual around 90 minutes to complete, but with over 30 participants, we were able to build both within 45 minutes!

Nintendo Labo RC car

Through building the RC car, we learned about the vibration motors that are inside each of the Nintendo Labo’s Joy-Con controllers. Children correctly identified that in order to have the RC car turn left that only the left motor needed to vibrate. Likewise, we discovered that in order to turn the RC car to the right, only the right motor needed to vibrate. For the RC car to move in a straight path, children successfully used both vibration motors at the same time! Children had fun comparing the Nintendo Labo RC car with our Dash robots at Grand Avenue Library. We also had a mini race course for children to navigate the robots through.

Nintendo Labo Robot Kit

Labo Builders

At Main Library, we took on the challenge of building the robot kit! As an individual, building this kit alone can take around 3 hours to complete! But with 31 pairs of helping hands, we were able to construct over half of our robot in about an hour!

With Nintendo Labo, the versatility of cardboard as prototyping material as well as how to animate designs with electronics is shown in a fun, hands on learning environment! Due to popular demand, we will have more building days to complete our Variety Kit and to finish building our robot. Once all of the kits are complete, then we will have a Nintendo Switch Day to see our cardboard creations in action through video games! #morethanbooks #STEAM #Summerlearning #Nintendo #ssfmakers

Family S.T.E.A.M Story time!

Story time set up

Every Thursday, 10:30 A.M. at Grand Avenue Library we host S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Story time! This story time is geared towards all ages and we have plenty of fun reading S.T.E.A.M stories like Newtonian Physics for Babies, Dot, In the Garden with Van Gogh, Rosie Revere, Engineer!, and Monster Knows More Than, Less Than!

story time supplies

Not only do we have fun reading, but we also sing-a-long with the library’s xylophone playing robot, Dash! We sing songs in sign language, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Japanese.


The best part of S.T.E.A.M Story Time is Stay & Play where children and parents can make new friends! Stay & Play features our Makerspace equipment that children can get hands on experience with by sharing Dash or playing with our Shape Mags, Legos, OSMO drawing technology and more to reinforce the concepts we read about that day!

Stay N Play

Can’t make Thursday mornings? Feel free to drop in on any of following story times at South San Francisco Public Library:

Main Library Storytimes
840 West Orange Avenue
(650) 829-3860 se habla español

  • Family Storytime – (all ages) Mondays 6:00 pm
  • Toddler Storytime – (18 months to 3 years) Tuesdays 10:30 am
  • Bouncing Babies Storytime – (birth to 18 months) Wednesdays 10:15 & 11:15 am
  • Tagalog Storytime – (all ages) second Saturday 10:30 am

Grand Avenue Library Storytimes
306 Walnut Avenue
(650) 877-8530 se habla español

  • Family Storytime – (all ages) Mondays 10:30 am.
  • Portuguese Storytime – (all ages) Tuesdays 10:30 am. Histórias, cantigas e parlendas em português para crianças de todas as idades e pais ou responsáveis. Socialização logo em seguida.
  • Family S.T.E.A.M Storytime – (all ages) Thursdays 10:30 am
  • Baby Bounce Storytime – (birth to 18 months) Fridays 10:30 am
  • Leer y Aprender: Cuentos y artesanias!
    • Spanish storytime – (3 years to 5 years) third Saturdays at 10:30 am
  • NEW! Adult Short Storytime – Second Thursday of every month at 12:00 pm