Multiple tools are available for student use—some for free—in the Wilson Library’s Makerspace, including access to 3D printing, laser cutting, robotics, coding and more. The 3D printer can create detailed life-like models such as a windmill. / photo by Kim Toth

Multiple tools are available for student use—some for free—in the Wilson Library’s Makerspace, including access to 3D printing, laser cutting, robotics, coding and more. The 3D printer can create detailed life-like models such as a windmill. / photo by Kim Toth

by Candice Pages
photography by Kim Toth and Nareg Agopian

Are you a dreamer? Are you creative? Are you a visionary? If so, the Makerspace in the University of La Verne’s Wilson Library is the place for you. 

The Maker’s Space is where creativity come to life. In the Wilson Library, emerging artists are welcomed with large white tables ready for creative work production. “We collaborate with classes,” says Amy Jiang, Wilson Library professor and head of emerging technology and digital initiatives. The Makerspace opened in 2015 and is still being discovered. Currently, faculty are the biggest driver to bring students to use the space. It is open to students, faculty and staff.

On bright green chairs, dreamers sit and begin their creative process. Inside cubby holes are the tools needed to make their visions come alive. Supplies are at the ready around the room: poster paper rolls, Playdoh, paints, a plethora of paint brushes, Elmer’s glue and glue sticks. On a wall, scissors, screwdrivers, hammers, drills, funnels and pliers are at the ready.

The 3D printer immediately catches your eye. The printer can produce creations in 30 minutes or could stretch to meet the 24-hour record of a class biological model. Used by students in various majors, the 3D printer has an important role: “to visualize,” says Jiang. The Makerspace is a major tool for education students. “We want them to know the trend in technology,” says Jiang. The lifespan class was able to utilize the printer to make babies and embryos. Open imaginations are stoked with the technology available with the printer in the Maker’s Space.

There is more. Throughout the room are virtual reality technology devices, laser cutters, button making machines, sticker making machines and sewing machines that are all accessible. Some of the creative technologies have assigned prices. Sabrina Mora, communications coordinator and interim Makerspace manager, says 3-D prints range from $2 to $15 maximum. Stickers are $2 per sheet. For buttons, the first 10 are free. Vinyl cuts are $2 per foot. Resin prints are the same price scale as 3-D printing. The sewing machine usage is free. “It’s not just high tech that is available,” says Mora.

Four 3D printers are available for use at the Wilson Library's Makerspace. The Makerspace provides students free access to 3D printing, laser cutting, robotics, coding and more.

Four 3D printers are available for use at the Wilson Library’s Makerspace. The Makerspace provides students free access to 3D printing, laser cutting, robotics, coding and more.

Library staff members are helpful and hands-on supportive when people are working on projects. Whether it is a simple task like making stickers or buttons, or something more complex like operating the 3D printer, there is someone there to help you throughout the process from start to end. Also in the Makerspace, technology services are available that align students with artificial intelligence technology. The opportunity is there to step into the future and start creating.

Discovering AI

The future is now. The capability of computer systems to imitate intelligent human behavior is now alive and present in our lives. Artificial Intelligence has spread through the world and is commanding our future. Only a decade ago, AI technology seemed like something straight out of science fiction. Now, AI is seamlessly used in everyday life without people even realizing it – from intelligence research, to facial and speech recognition, to automation on our mobile devices and in our vehicles. Tesla pioneered the first self-driven cars.

In educational circles, ChatGPT has become a dominant tool for many higher education institutions across the United States. Students are able to utilize these resources for assignments and help them develop content—sometimes much to the skepticism of their teachers. The possibilities are there for staff and faculty to write their own reports, construct data analysis, plan lessons and enhance teaching.

With the same 3-D printing technology offered to the University of La Verne community in the Wilson Library Makerspace, poured concrete houses are now being built with large computer-coordinated machines. The same building technology is being actively considered by NASA to build a moon base. AI technologies continue to transform the world.

Sophomore digital media major Ernesto Trujillo, left, inspects a hand-made Spider-Man mask with working electronics made by junior studio art major, Andrew Salaiza, right, at the Mini Maker Fair in May 2023. At the end of every academic year, the Wilson Library Makerspace hosts the Mini Maker Fair for students to display their projects. / photo by Nareg Agopian

Sophomore digital media major Ernesto Trujillo, left, inspects a hand-made Spider-Man mask with working electronics made by junior studio art major, Andrew Salaiza, right, at the Mini Maker Fair in May 2023. At the end of every academic year, the Wilson Library Makerspace hosts the Mini Maker Fair for students to display their projects. / photo by Nareg Agopian

Multiple tools are available for student use in the Makerspace. / photo by Kim Toth

Multiple tools are available for student use in the Makerspace. / photo by Kim Toth

Candice Pages is a senior communications major at the University of La Verne.

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Kim Toth is a junior photography major at the University of La Verne and photography editor of the Winter 2024 La Verne Magazine.

Nareg Agopian
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Nareg Agopian is a senior photography major at the University of La Verne.