Thursday, May 23, 2024

A makerspace at The Hive in the Cambridge Main Library awaits activation, halted by the coronavirus, March 9. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Burgeoning scientists, engineers and technology lovers of all ages are finally getting a peek at The Hive, a development at the Cambridge Public Library centered around science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Feb. 12 at noon, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. are the latest virtual open houses to offer a peek at a project on the cusp of opening since March, just as the coronavirus arrived.

The Hive includes a makerspace, two recording studios and “an extended reality lab” (and someday will include a related Tech Bar, where visitors can check out library-owned devices such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, media players and adapters for use at home). It “will enhance the Cambridge Public Library’s ability to create learning opportunities for all residents in a rapidly evolving creative, scientific and technological landscape,” said Maria McCauley, director of libraries for the city.

Products and services promised at the library’s Tech Bar, which never got a chance to open during the Covid-19 lockdown. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Construction began in June 2019; an opening ceremony was once set for March 19.

The space, on the lower level of the Main Library, was designed to be used for a wide range of hands-on creative activities, with digital and traditional fabrication materials for visitors’ use. The two multimedia recording studios were originally projected to open in late spring, along with the “Extended Reality Lab” where patrons can experiment with virtual reality.

Some functions of The Tech Bar moved to the front lobby of the library during construction and the lockdown, but will move back into The Hive when possible to become a “half device checkout station, half technology advice center,” similar to the Genius Bars once found at Apple Stores. At the time of the lockdown, The Tech Bar was close to opening, and just waiting on furniture, a library worker said.

The projects are the work of the Cambridge Steam Initiative, a venture between the library, Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs and the Cambridge Public Schools.

The next virtual open house for The Hive is from noon to 1 p.m. Tueday. Register here.