Vail Public Library’s Tech Studio open for innovation |

Vail Public Library’s Tech Studio open for innovation

Liz Willhoff, of the Vail Public Libary, demonstrates how to use Sphero to Matthew Robinson, 9, in the library's Tech Studio on Tuesday. Sphero is a simple robot that can be controlled via commands from a tablet or smartphone.
Townsend Bessent | |

If you go:

What: Tech Studio, a place to get hands-on experience in robotics and electronics.

When: Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Where: Vail Public Library.

Cost: Free.

More information: Visit

VAIL — It’s not the biggest room at the library, but there’s a whole lot going on in there.

Watch your step when you enter, as a little BB-8 “Star Wars” bot might be rolling on the floor completing its assigned route, created by the hands of children of all ages.

Don’t be alarmed by the 3-D printers, either; they are just producing unique designs created by locals and visitors alike.

You’re in the Tech Studio at the Vail Public Library, and it’s time to have some fun while learning about robotics and electronics.

The library got its first 3-D printer in 2014 and has “slowly started adding” to it, said Liz Willhoff, the programming and circulation librarian at the library.

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Now, the Tech Studio, open to people of all ages on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m., offers an introduction to robotics and electronics.


There’s now two 3-D printers, Sphero balls to program, special project cards, a Makey Makey (which allows you to change a keyboard into objects like a banana), button making and a green screen.

“Since everything is always changing — technology’s always changing — we hope to just keep adding on to it. It’s grown a lot,” Willhoff said.

The Tech Studio is an entrance into robotics and electronics; for more in-depth instruction, the library has separate classes. While the 3-D printers produce a lot of “toys,” people are also using them for prototypes, such as ski and snowboard bindings.

Willhoff was busy Wednesday moving from station to station, keeping things moving smoothly. Not necessarily an expert herself on all of the technology, she said “YouTube has been awesome,” and she even learns a thing or two from the kids themselves.

Nicholas Robinson, 11, goes to school at Homestake Peak School and spends a lot of time in the Tech Studio. He was making buttons, running the BB-8 around and printing a Minecraft character on Tuesday with his mom, Kamilla, and two brothers, Daniel, 6, and Matthew, 9.

“It’s something you cannot have at home,” Kamilla said.

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

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