Check It Out: CCPL Celebrates the Local Makers Movement at DIY Festival

Libraries: They're for more than just checking out the latest novel for your, book club. Over the years, libraries have become progressive hubs where individuals can come together to learn about everything from self-publishing to cutting-edge technology, and they often offer free educational workshops, events, and seminars to encourage public participation. Enter the DIY Fest.


As a nod to the local makers scene, the Charleston County Public Library hosted their second annual DIY Festival on Saturday afternoon, which drew in more than 400 visitors to the main branch location on Calhoun Street. Attendees had the opportunity to explore Charleston's DIY scene up close through interactive booths, live performances, and informative lectures presented by the city's creatives. With more than a dozen organizations and businesses in tow, participants got an in-depth look at the latest the DIY community has to offer.  


Makey Makey's futuristic table highlighted a unique invention kit that allows the user to make literally anything into a key; for the demonstration, the booth technicians set up a virtual piano where kids could trigger correlating notes just by touching bananas. (Trust me, you have to watch the video—it completely blew my mind.)  Makelab's booth also showcased family-friendly entertainment with a fully loaded 3-D printer creating figurines in real time, and Charleston's Self-Portrait Project proved to be a big hit by equipping participants of all ages with materials and mirrors to sketch their own interpretations.  
For the more traditional side of making, the library's community table, headed by library assistant Kate Hudson and volunteer Nicky Jones, encouraged the crowd to draft their own zines—self-created publications devoted to specialized content, which generally revel in the unconventional—using magazine clippings, scrapbook materials, and various art supplies. Other booths represented Girls Rock Charleston, the American College of the Building Arts, Artist & Craftsman Supply, The Iron Yard, Hooks & Toggles, Charleston Math & Science Club, and Stellagraph Studios, among many others.
Academia Records kicked off the first of six lectures with a basic overview of operating a cassette label and led straight into the second discussion about amateur radio from local tech guru Eugene Mah. Local DIY blogger Anna Hartman of In the Next 30 Days came next, with a presentation regarding the do's and don'ts of craft blogging, and staff behind the nonprofit Charleston Waterkeeper rounded out the panel with an informational segment on keeping local waterways clean. Inbetween keynote speaker sessions, folk/Americana musician Avi Jacob played an acoustic set on the main stage for onlookers. 
Although DIY Fest only comes once a year, branches of the Charleston County Public Library host a plethora of events year-round that are open to the public. The full calendar can be accessed on the website, and CCPL also has a YouTube channel that features coverage of, as well as sneak peeks of, upcoming events.  
Read local, y'all.