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Makers Day came to the Hammonton branch of the Atlantic County Library System on Saturday, where everyone was welcome to learn how to make several types of projects, ranging from high-tech to crafts.

Librarian assistant Erica Villani was excited for the event. “The library isn’t just a place for the consumption of books and media, but also a place of creativity,” she said.

While participants had the option to make a bookmark if they wanted to keep it simple, the bigger draw was the chance to learn how to make a circuit board.

“Makers Day is aimed to expose kids to programming,” librarian Michael Bleming said as he showed off a circuit board called an Arduino.

An Arduino is a programmable circuit board aimed for beginners. Most of the materials used for the event were donated by library patrons, including the Arduino, which can be a bit pricey.

Bleming was quick to point out that while the main goal of Makers Day is to expose children to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, it is also about creativity in general.

In fact, the main event for the day was learning how to make a punch rug. The event was lead by Villani, who is also in charge of the library’s knitting and crocheting club.

Punch rugs are made up of burlap or linen that has been stretched across a wooden frame. A design is drawn and a special needle is then used to “punch” the yarn through the design.

Participants had to bring their own material, so Villani prepared alternative crafts in case anyone came to the event in the spur of the moment.

Sisters Lily and Damien Olive, 9 and 7, respectively, came in to learn the basics of crocheting from Villani, whom they have known for years. The girls were excited to learn a new skill and looked forward to practicing at home.

New Jersey Makers Day is a coordinated, statewide event designed to encourage entrepreneurship and practical learning experiences. Several locations throughout the state including libraries in Atlantic County, schools, museums and more hosted free activities Friday and Saturday to promote opportunities in entrepreneurship, innovation and hands-on learning. For more info on Makers Day or to become a participating location, visit www.njmakersday.org.

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