Mkrservices at ASU hope to spark "creativity and innovation" among students, faculty and staff

The Mkrservices offer a variety of tools for a hands-on learning experience

The ASU Library aims to inspire “creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship” by providing free use of tools and equipment through their Makerservices (Mkrservices) including the Mkrspace and the Mkrstudio.

The Mkrspace opened around March 2016 at Hayden Library and is located on the second floor. It offers tools such as a sewing machine, a vinyl cutter, 3D printers, 3D scanning, book scanning, digital artistry and electronics testing equipment.

On the third floor is the Mkrstudio which includes a film an audio studio with HD cameras, audio mixing, microphones, a green screen and more.

The Noble Science and Engineering Library also has a Mkrspace specific for the engineering community.

In addition to providing free use of the tools, they also provide training through workshops.

Free for the ASU community, these locations display an emphasis on encouraging and serving students, said associate university librarian for Research and Development, Philip Konomos.

Konomos said the goal of the Mkrspace is to combine what the library has traditionally been as a “discovery of information,” with the opportunity in advancing what it has to offer.

Whether it is a one-time trial or multiple visits, Konomos said many students utilize the Mkrspace for out-of-the-box or entrepreneurial ideas.

“It allows (students) to think outside the box, it allows them to create, get involved in stuff that may not be something that they’re used to. It gives the students an opportunity to do something different,” Konomos said.

For student workers at the Mkrspace, their day-to-day tasks are also a learning experience.

Senior film major Jerrel Bernard and student worker at the Mkrspace said that student workers are picked for their specific skill sets and how they can help and assist students utilizing the tools.

“It provides students with not only an area to network and meet and make connections, but also provides them with a space where they can go to and be limitless in their creativity,” Bernard said.

The student workers often use the space themselves.

Cissy Tang, a masters student of industry design and student worker at the Mkrspace, said it was her background in design that led her to want to know more about different technologies and how to use them. After learning more about the tools in the Mkrspace, she wanted to help others gain that knowledge as well.

“I think Mkrspace provides a service, it provides an experience instead of providing a final product,” Tang said.

ASU Library Project Coordinator Joel Smalley said as they move forward they hope to facilitate connections between students’ projects and skillsets to work together. For example, if a student is working on a project and they don’t know how to use one tool, there could be someone else in the Mkrspace that does, leading to collaboration.

“(It’s) very exciting, very engaging. I really enjoy having the opportunity to work everyday with students who have new ideas and who are creating things, and helping them and encouraging them,” Smalley said. “Just kind of nurturing this space where failure is OK, encouraged and known to be part of learning.”

The Mkrspace aims to be a setting for people of all majors to interact and collaborate. It is also unique to the ASU Library Services as they work to stay up-to-date with the advancing world around them.

“My hope is in where we move past it being a trend … in really our commitment to helping students, our commitment to trying to help students think outside the box, and our commitment to that there is no mistake,” Konomos said. 

“There’s no downside in working with the Mkrspace, it’s a free zone.”

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