Experts Opinion #3

EN | PT

Inês Vila

7th May 2018


Inês Vila
Born in Caramulo in 1975, Inês graduated in Art History in the Faculty of Arts of Oporto University, specializing in Documentary Science (library and documentary) from Portucalense University.
Currently, Inês is in charge of several services of Ílhavo’s Public Library and coordinates the public libraries network in Ílhavo. Since 2011, Inês has been running the “Ao som das histórias” project, which won an award at the 3rd edition of the Good Practices in Public Libraries awards.
Inês has presented several communications and posters about the promotion of reading and back in November 2017, implemented the first Makerspace in a Portuguese public library.

In 2015, Inês was part of a group of 30 ibero-american librarians selected to take part in the INELI (International Network of Emerging Library Innovators) training program, financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and organized by the Fundación Germán Sanchéz Ruipérez and by the regional center for the promotion of the book in Latin American and Caribe (CERLALC).

Inês is currently the president of Board of Directors for the Central Region of the Portuguese Association of Librarians, Archivists and Documentalists.

Inês believes that the people make the libraries. When she has some time, she likes to travel!
Email: inesvvila@gmail.com twiter: @inesvvila


How did your team come up with the idea to open the first Makerspace in a public library in Portugal?

It all started with my participation in the Iberoamerican INELI (International Network of Emerging Library Innovators) program. After several moments of training in the iberoamerican spaces, in Madrid and Colombia, this program ends with a final presentation of a project and its implementation on a library.
Adding to that, visiting several maker spaces in libraries, outside of Portugal, led me to read more about this subject and discover all its capabilities.
On the other hand, using the space of Ílhavo’s public library for the benefit of families, young people and children, with our creative workshops that happen before storytelling time on Saturdays and even during holiday periods, allow me to realize that the library could offer a bit more to everyone who visit us regularly, promoting experimentation and the creation of their own work.

Why a Makerspace and not another type of space?

Makerspaces are very common abroad.
For example, public libraries and schools in the United States, have a makerspace – a space to create, also in various important European libraries, these spaces are more and more common.
Ílhavo’s public library was lacking a space like this, since people visit us looking for books and access to computers but also looking for other kinds of daily necessities, that we can provide here.

Why is it important to have a Makerspace in a community, specially inside a public library? What benefits does it bring?

In a city like Ílhavo, where there are a lot of companies implemented focused on new technologies, where the Creative Science Park is installed, we consider it is a priority for the public library to contribute to the development of the user’s skills, providing new tools to allow them to better integrate the community where they live.
I think it’s also the role that the public library plays in the community, to answer its needs. This project was developed with that in mind and it will be available to all our current users and also future users. The makerspace is open to the community, however training sessions and workshops require prior registration. These activities allow for our users to enjoy the space and use all the equipment and tools available, to create their projects.
The biggest benefit our “Makerspace BMI – Together we make!” is to provide a space focused on the creativity, experimentation and social inclusion, which also follows the maker movement philosophy: “the library is transformed into a space where people work together, experiment, play and learn, the library becomes a space of learning, in relationship with the community. This space is seen as a knowledge generator which the library can then promote.”

Makerspace BMI

 Makerspace BMI

Makerspace BMI
Makerspace BMI

3D Printing is part of your Makerspace, what do you think of this technology and its rising popularity?

I have read recently in an article that 3D Printing is one of the “top ten technologies that can change our lives”. In fact, I believe that can be true. I think that this technology serves our creativity and some of our daily life necessities, in a faster way and with a lower cost of production/printing than other types of processes – it’s faster and cheaper to 3D print a mug than to produce it in ceramic.
I do believe that 3D printing popularity hasn’t reached its peak yet. From what I witness at our makerspace, there are many users that are blown away by its capabilities, which they are not aware of yet.

Does it make sense to incorporate 3D printing technology into a makerspace? Why?

It makes a lot of sense. Tools as a sewing machine, which will soon be available, a soldering iron, already available or simply scissors and rulers… 3D Printing is a basic service, we believe, should be available for all users. A makerspace should be equipped with all the tools and machines, technological or not, aiming to satisfy the needs of its community – the users.
In our case, we tried to create a space that gives access to different tools and machines, that allow users to make, create and change – namely 3D Printing or recyclable materials (paper or plastic).
Nowadays public libraries already offer multiple services to their communities – access to computers, internet, printing, amongst others – it seems to me that including access to 3D Printing as well makes sense, even if the library doesn’t have a makerspace yet.

How do you imagine the future of libraries?

A very bright future :)! Libraries are made of people: people that work there and people who visit them daily looking for solutions to their problems… and those are more and more diverse!I have read recently in an article that 3D Printing is one of the “top ten technologies that can change our lives”. In fact, I believe that can be true. I think that this technology serves our creativity and some of our daily life necessities, in a faster way and with a lower cost of production/printing than other types of processes – it’s faster and cheaper to 3D print a mug than to produce it in ceramic.


YouTube-iconfacebook Instagram_App_Large_May2016_200 twittergoogle+ linkedin