Today we’re thrilled to host Mel Kolstad, artist and library lover, who tells us about the brand new Idea Studio at the Fond du Lac Public Library. Enjoy!

idea studio

by Mel Kolstad

After nearly three years of planning, grant writing and building, Idea Studio is finally a reality, and Fond du Lac has its very own makerspace!  We celebrated our Grand Opening on Saturday, July 23, and had about 400 people walk through.  It was a huge success!

Back in late 2013, Fond du Lac Public Library director Jon-Mark Bolthouse began thinking about the possibility of our library having a makerspace.  Through him, an advisory panel was formed, and my husband Brian and I were very honored to be asked to be on it, along with about 12 other people.  We met quasi-monthly at first, and then monthly as the space progressed.  

The planning went through several phases at first but then, in mid-2015, the City of Fond du Lac had the opportunity to purchase the building right next door to be utilized as a used book store, which would be run by the library.  So when that bookstore opened, a large space in the library’s basement became available – and Idea Studio was the perfect fit!

As the space took shape, excitement began building.  Many of us on the advisory panel were the guinea pigs for being “badged”, which is how one is able to use some of the more complicated equipment in the space.  I am happy to say that I am now badged in the sewing machine/serger, the CNC (Carvey) machine, and the recording studio.  This means that I am now able to use any of that equipment without help anytime the Idea Studio is open!  YAY!

Here I am getting “badged” to use the sewing machine!

Here I am getting “badged” to use the sewing machine!

So at this point you may be wondering what exactly IS available in this amazing space.  SO much!  🙂  It’s divided into different “zones” – we have the main area, which is where our two 3-D printers are located, along with the sewing machines, the die cutter, the general art area, and the electronics, like Makey Makeys and Little Bits components.

idea studio room

There is a full recording studio in a small room off the main space. It’s equipped with a keyboard with midi, three mics, guitar, bass guitar, a Mac, and an audio converter.  Imagine creating your own podcast, complete with theme music – it’s possible in this space!

idea studio wall

There is also a full kitchen!  Because we’re not health department compliant, it won’t be a space to use for making food for sale (like jams, salsas, or the like), but it will be used for demonstrations – and not just for food!  Here I am utilizing the space to make paper during the Grand Opening!  🙂

idea studio paper

There is also another room with a door that houses our laser engraver and our CNC (Carvey) machine.  Because these two pieces of equipment are loud, they have their own room.  Right now there are only two people who can operate it, but you can ask to do most anything!

idea studio visitors

As you can see, the space is GORGEOUS.  It was designed and implemented by Keller and Interior Systems.  We are SO lucky and honored to have this amazing space, which can be utilized by any Wisconsin resident, so we hope you take a trip to Fond du Lac to check it out!  😀

Learn more about the Idea Studio at Fond du Lac Public Library.

All photos furnished by Brian Kolstad and Terri Fleming

Pin It