Can you help us turn the Toronto Reference Library in to a Maker-y Imaginarium?

Posted on March 28, 2016 Under Uncategorized

Did you know Maker Festival is a 10,000+ attendee event run solely by volunteers? Did you know that this year the Festival is going to be even bigger and better? Did you know that the main event, the Maker Extravaganza, is hosted in the humungous Toronto Reference Library?

This year – we’re going to put on a serious show, and we’re looking for YOUR help to transform the Toronto Reference Library in to a magical maker-themed imaginarium of LED lights, floating blimps, drawing robots and more!

If you’re an individual or a group that has any interest (in building) or expertise (to consult) in the following crazy ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

If you have crazy ideas of your own, we’d love to hear from you too!

Photo Map Wall

According to our surveys, every year about 10% of people don’t go into the Salon space on the second floor. Even though we put up lots of signage and hand out lots of small printed maps, it is not enough. This year, we’d like to have a GIGANTIC Photo Map Wall to greet visitors when the enter the festival.

Our current vision for the Photo Map Wall consists of several upright segments of plywood on which large maps of the festival are affixed, with every area/table at the festival being shown with a photo or image. The Photo Map Wall team will design the map, source materials, build the fixture, as well as coordinate with the Programming team and photographer to take and print images/photos for each exhibitor. Exhibitor number may also be shown to facilitate a nearby “Audience Choice Award” voting system that people could use as they leave the festival, making the map wall useful both on the way in and on the way out.

We will provide a budget of up to $500 plus free printing. Maker Festival also has a logistics van which would be available for your use both before and after the festival.

LED Lighting

Last year, Hacklab.TO draped a single LED strip straight down from the second floor balcony, and it attracted a lot of attention. This year, we’d love to have dozens of strips decorating the library and providing footpathing directions. In particular, we’d like to illuminate the footpath from the Maker and Games area to the Salon, with LEDs that indicate “move this way” via the light motion. A Hacklab member has kindly offered the use of approximately 200m of fully controllable highspeed LED strip. A different member has offered the use of a 5m x 1m 4000+ LED “screen”. No doubt we can find even more such LED lighting.

The library has tentatively approved using the strips along and over the balconies, along the railings of the stairs, and along the floor walkways on the second floor.

We will provide a budget of up to $500. Maker Festival also has a logistics van which would be available for your use both before and after the festival, and electrical requirements will be provided at cost to the Festival.

Atrium Awesomeness

Every year we talk about Blimps in the Atrium, and every year it doesn’t happen. No more! We’re looking for help to make this dream a reality! Imagine multiple radio controlled blimps floating around in the gigantic open space of the atrium, controlled from the third floor lookout. Maybe you can find a place to rent blimps or maybe you use those toy Shark blimps. Or maybe you build your own! You’ll also need to design the Control Center, and figure out how the public will interact with the blimps. Can they carry cameras? Can they stream live video?

It also doesn’t have to be blimps. Maybe it’s something else awesome that uses the huge atrium space, like huge hanging banners, cameras on zip lines, strings of LEDs, or any of a million possibilities. Make the Atrium Awesome!

We will provide a budget of up to $1000.

Window DrawBots

Our venue, the Toronto Reference Library, has an area called “Browsery” which fronts onto Collier street (with visibility from Yonge Street) and features large full wall windows (aprox. 6’x6’ each, there are 18 windows in total).

The idea for the project is to create “drawbots” that would be suspended on the windows and will draw on the glass using dry erase markers. Something like this

In addition to just being fun things, we are looking to have this be something that visitors can get involved with such as program them to draw something themselves. Or maybe have some bot be connected to Twitter account and teletype the tweets…. Ideas along these lines and other lines as well are welcome!

We will provide a budget of up to $1000

Collaborative Build Project

The idea for this project is to have something that is built based on interactions with people over the Internet. Something like this:

Essentially, there would be something that starts being built before the beginning of the festival which is then “fueled” by tweets/likes/petition signing/whatever else interaction and displayed at the Main Event as an in-progress extravaganza.

We will provide budget of up to $1000.

Help us bring the EXTRA to our Maker Extravaganza!

Do any of these sound super fun to you? Awesome! Express your interest in making the library maker Imaginarium happen by sending us your info in this form. Remember, we also need Consulting Experts to act as volunteer technical advisers (coding, electrical, mechanical, onsite building, etc.) for our teams. Looking forward to making magic happen with you this July 9th & 10th!

If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to email Eric at

The Maker Festival Team xo