Janet Hollingsworth, Adam Watts, and Zack Weaver | Movers & Shakers 2019 – Innovators

Adam Watts didn’t realize he was on a path to librarianship when he became a shelver while pursuing a degree in 3-D animation in college. Zack Weaver was a PhD student studying Maker Education when he imagined creating a free and open school for Makers. Janet Hollingsworth, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)–accredited structural engineer, didn’t think she’d apply her craft in a public library. Yet together, they comanage BLDG 61 at the Boulder Public Library (BPL). Opened in 2016, the 1,500 square foot Maker space has hosted more than 1,500 events, nurtured 60 local businesses, and partnered with 40 community organizations.

 
Janet Hollingsworth
JANET HOLLINGSWORTH

DEGREE

BA, Civil Engineering, BS, Architecture, Art, Tufts University, 2007

FAST FACT

Was featured in Make, “Three Women Making Waves on the Colorado Maker Scene” (9/21/17)

FOLLOW

janethollingsworth.com

Adam Watts
ADAM WATTS

DEGREE

BA, Computer Animation, Columbia College, Chicago, 2006

FAST FACT

Adam Watts runs Archon Games and plays bass and produces visual content for metal band Velnias

Zack Weaver

ZACK WEAVER

DEGREE

M.S. Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 2012

 

ALL

CURRENT POSITION

Creative Technologists, Boulder Public Library, CO

AWARDS

Knight Cities Challenge award to Boulder for “Tree Debris to Opportunity,” 2016; Infy Makers Award, Boulder Public Library, BLDG 61, 2018

READ MORE

slj.com/?detailStory=a-stitch-in-time-editorial

FOLLOW

@bldg61 (Twitter, Instagram); bldg61.org

Photos by Lauren Click

MS_logo_300x81

Curiosity Catalysts

Adam Watts didn’t realize he was on a path to librarianship when he became a shelver while pursuing a degree in 3-D animation in college. Zack Weaver was a PhD student studying Maker Education when he imagined creating a free and open school for Makers. Janet Hollingsworth, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)–accredited structural engineer, didn’t think she’d apply her craft in a public library. Yet together, they comanage BLDG 61 at the Boulder Public Library (BPL). Opened in 2016, the 1,500 square foot Maker space has hosted more than 1,500 events, nurtured 60 local businesses, and partnered with 40 community organizations.

“We work hard to build a culture of positivity, trust, and inclusivity,” says Watts. “If you can demystify a process, a tool, a technology and get excited when you don’t know how to do something, it sets a culture of curiosity,” says Hollingsworth. And, adds Weaver, “our community members are creating opportunities for themselves that are life-changing.”

Their work has personal impact, particularly for underserved members of the area. Weaver recalls Alex, a 15-year-old apprentice in the Build.Learn.Design.Grow Latinx youth program. During the program, she created an interactive electronic bracelet. She later received a scholarship to Dawson School, one of Boulder’s top private schools, where she interns for the school’s technology director.

Another patron, Jason, joined a three-month woodworking apprenticeship designed for citizens experiencing homelessness. He learned how to work with wood and use Adobe Illustrator. Now, the laser-cut wood jewelry he makes sells at local retailers. “We have a responsibility to provide opportunity to all our citizens to contribute to society intentionally through quality education and access to technology,” Hollingsworth says.

The team continue to create inclusive and engaging opportunity for Coloradans. Collaborating with the University of Colorado’s Atlas Institute and the Colorado School for the Blind, they helped design a tactile 3-D nursery rhyme book for the visually impaired and a universal design board game that anyone, regardless of ability, can play, resulting in a $10,000 grant to BLDG 61 to produce similar programs. According to colleague Terri Lewis, “With their passion for their crafts; their dedication to providing valuable, life-altering experiences to virtually all members of our community; and their commitment to innovation, they are propelling the Boulder Public Library into the future at lightning speed.”

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