In honor of The National Week of Making, we want you to meet Sasha Neri, a key player from the #ChicagoMakes scene. Sasha is a maker who creates and empowers other makers. She’s a librarian with superpowers. Not only is she a Librarian II at the Chicago Public Library, she’s also a creative director of sorts for the Maker Lab at the Harold Washington Library, the main branch of the CPL.
Sasha’s superpowers not only include the prowess to direct machines like the Carvey and 3D printers do her bidding, but she also the ability to empower the citizens of Chicago (and sometimes tourists just passing through) to do the same thanks to an inspiring blend of design thinking and technical skills.
The Maker Lab offers instructional programs, workshops, and open lab time for patrons ages 14 and up (or as young as 10 if accompanied by an adult). The Lab’s equipment includes 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, laser cutter and more. Though, as you’ll note in the video below, Sasha believes in the transformative power of low-tech making, too.
She is also a force behind Makers in Chicago Makers in Chicago, a guide to maker spaces and maker activities in Chicago. (You can also find family-friendly maker activities at our sister site, STEM Kids Chicago.)
Sasha and I recently met at mHUB to talk about her awesome job at CPL and her maker philosophy, which is very much in line with her work at Chicago’s first free maker lab. Afterward, we ambled over to mHUB’s 3D printing room to make the first iteration of a sundial watch.
Meet Sasha Neri
Be sure to check out the CPL Maker Lab page to keep tabs on their workshop, programs and open labs hours. The Maker Lab is an amazing free resource that is open to all, not just Chicago residents.