IdeaBox

idea box logo

NOTICE: The Idea Box is closed at this time due to COVID-19 restrictions. Check the Library’s homepage for updates about reopening.

Introducing Manitowoc Public Library’s newest space, the Idea Box! The Idea Box makerspace is dedicated to both high-tech and low-tech hands-on learning for teens and adults.

Tools and equipment in the Idea Box focus on nurturing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) skills in users, as well as igniting creativity and the imagination. Users will have the opportunity to make products and objects using 3D printing tools, explore advanced media creation software, play with sound, explore textile arts and crafts, scrapbook, and much more!

Room and Equipment UseBadging AssessmentsChecking Out BadgesBadging Sessions and ClassesMenu of EquipmentConsumable Materials

Using the Idea Box

Want to use equipment or tools in the Idea Box? There are a few ways to do so: participate in an Open Tech Play session, a class, or anytime during library hours after having completed a badging assessment.  See the Events Calendar for sessions and classes.  Badging sessions will be added in the coming weeks.

General Requirements for Equipment Use

  • Must be 13 years of age or older (see age requirements below)
  • Valid library card*
  • Signed liability waiver (forms available at Service Desks)
  • Completion of Badging Assessments for use of equipment outside of scheduled classes

Age Requirements
The Idea Box is intended for use by adults and teens.  Although library visitors of any age may enter the room, equipment and tools are meant for adult and teen use.  Some equipment is restricted to users 18 years of age and older (see Badging Assessments) per manufacturer recommendations and safety requirements. 

Minor children 13 to 17 years of age who wish to use equipment and tools rated for use by teens must have a parent or legal guardian present to sign the liability waiver.  In addition, a parent or legal guardian must be present during badging assessments, which are required for independent equipment use outside of classes or Open Tech Playtimes.

Library Card

Those who wish to use Idea Box equipment independently from scheduled classes or Open Tech Playtimes must have a valid library card in good standing (no fines exceeding $9.99 and no blocks on card). 

Liability Waiver

Anyone eligible to use equipment in the Idea Box must complete a Idea Box Waiver.  This is a one-time requirement.  The liability waiver covers use of all equipment in the the Idea Box.  However, badging assessment completion is still required for independent use of equipment.

Badging Assessments

Badging is the training process to independently use Idea Box equipment that requires special training due to the complexity of the equipment or potential hazards associated with its use. Various library staff will be trained to administer badging assessments. These badging assessments will primarily take place at registration-based events in the Idea Box, or during Open Tech Play sessions. On-demand, individual badging is not typically available. The following equipment requires completion of the badging process for use outside of scheduled classes and Open Tech Play sessions:

  • 3Doodler Pens (ages 14+)
  • Sewing Machines (ages 13+)
  • Cricut Maker (ages 18+)
  • Cricut EasyPress (ages 18+)
  • 3D Printer (ages 16+)
  • Glow Forge (ages 18+)
  • Sound Booth (ages 18+)

*Valid library card must be up to date (not expired, no blocks, no fines in above $9.99).

Badging Assessments

Badging is the training process to independently use Idea Box equipment that requires special training due to the complexity of the equipment or potential hazards associated with its use. Various library staff will be trained to administer badging assessments. These badging assessments will primarily take place at registration-based events in the Idea Box, or during Open Tech Play sessions. On-demand, individual badging is not typically available. The following equipment requires completion of the badging process for use outside of scheduled classes and Open Tech Play sessions.  Click on links to viewing badging assessments and instructional resources.

Checking Out Badges

When a learner has completed a badging assessment and wishes to independently use equipment, they may checkout a badge. Learners may only checkout badges for equipment for which they have passed a badging assessment. Each piece of equipment has a corresponding badge with a unique color. The badge must be worn at all times when in the Idea Box. Checking out a badge means the learner is checking out the associated equipment and/or kit, with all its related costs.

  • To checkout a badge, a learner’s account must be in good standing (fines below $9.99, no blocks)
  • Badges checkout for 2 hours
  • At the end of the loan period, badges and all corresponding equipment must be returned to a Service Desk
  • Learner may be billed for incomplete or damaged equipment
  • Badges do not accrue overdue fines
  • Badges cannot be reserved or put on hold

Badging Sessions and Classes

Badging sessions will appear on the Events Calendar as they’re scheduled.  Sessions are limited and space and require registration to attend.  

Open Tech Playtimes

Open Tech Playtimes are Wednesdays 4:00-6:00pm and are listed on the Events Calendar.  These sessions enable users to explore equipment and tools in the Idea Box under the direction of MPL staff.  Playtimes are open to ages 13 and up. Participants under 18 must have a liability waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Space is limited for this drop-in program. Registration is not required, but due to capacity of room we can only accommodate up to 20 people per event.

Menu of Equipment

All tools and equipment must remain in the Idea Box during use.

  • Glowforge 3D Laser Cutter (available soon)
  • FlashForge Creator Pro 3D Printer (available soon)
  • iMac Computers (available soon)
  • Professional Graphic Design, Sound, and Film Editing Software
  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut EasyPress & EasyPress Mini (available soon)
  • Singer Sewing Machines with Quilting Tables
  • 3Doodler Create+ Pens
  • Film Negative Scanner and Light Table (available soon)
  • Green Screen and Portable Light Reflectors (available soon)

Consumable Materials

Use of equipment in the Idea Box is free!  However, users are responsible for providing their own consumable materials to use with equipment, or purchasing approved consumable materials from the Library at cost.  More information coming soon.

Cost List

  • 3Doodler Plastic – $.30 per stick
  • Sewing Machine Bobbin – $.25 each