Meet the Librarian Co-Designers: Dave Fink

March 17, 2021

For our second edition of our meet the co-designers series, we’re featuring Dave Fink from Michigan City Library!

Last month, we kicked off a new series where we will highlight some of the librarians who participated in the co-design process with us. You can read more about the co-design process in our previous post, as well as learn about our other Inflatables co-designer, Allie Affinito. For our second edition, we’re featuring Dave Fink from Michigan City Library in Indiana. Dave has been a PLIX collaborator from the beginning! Along with co-designing Inflatables, he's participated in lots of our workshops, helped us tweak existing PLIX activities, and was a member of the facilitation team for November 2020’s Facilitating Creative Learning Workshop.

If you are interested in learning more about the activity, you can head to the Inflatables activity page .

Now, let's meet Dave...

The wonderful Dave Fink! (photo from Dave)
The wonderful Dave Fink! (photo from Dave)

Tell us a bit about your role at your library! What's your favorite part of your job? How is "making" part of your role?

Dave: I am a Youth Services librarian at Michigan City Public Library where I do a variety of library things like storytimes, STEAM/maker programs, and community outreach. My favorite part about being a librarian is the interactions I have with people of all ages. I love the exchange of ideas, and I really enjoy helping people pursue their quests for knowledge. Whether someone is looking for book three in a series or seeking info on thermodynamics, it's always an honor to encounter and assist with the sparks of curiosity in people.

The children's makerspace at my library has craft supplies available for children and families to be creative together when visiting the library. Before the pandemic, I would facilitate a weekly open-lab series in the makerspace where kids had access to our LEGO WeDo kits, micro:bits, hobby motors, cardboard and other making materials. I currently facilitate a monthly virtual 3D-modeling workshop for kids with Tinkercad. Participants get a free 3D print of what they design!

What excites you about creative learning?

Dave: Creative learning makes the process of learning so much fun! I love that creative learning allows for experimentation and iteration. And I love the social aspect of sharing ideas with others! It helps to generate new ideas and to build upon one's own ideas.

Why were you interested in participating in the co-design to begin with?

Dave: For one, I knew the PLIX team was a lot of fun to work with after attending PLIX@Akron in 2019 and other virtual workshops in 2020. And I was super excited to participate as soon as I saw Yun's soft robotics presentation and inflatables examples!

What is one interesting thing you learned from participating in the co-design?

Dave: I was amazed to learn about the interdisciplinary research in soft robotics! It involves things like art (origami), engineering (pneumatics), thermodynamics, biology, chemistry, math, etc. So cool!

What other PLIX activity are you most excited to run with your patrons? Any remix ideas you'd like to share?

Dave: Right now I am super excited about the new Scratch + micro:bit zine that PLIX created! My library is planning to circulate micro:bits and I now have tons of ideas for creative coding kits thanks to PLIX Scratch + micro:bit activities!

I will definitely be sharing my PLIX inspired library programs that I plan to do this year on the discussion forumUrban EcologyCubeSatsInflatables, and Scratch + micro:bit.

Favorite book/article/poem/essay you’ve read since last March?

Dave: I FINALLY started reading the Harry Potter books in January. I guess it's my only New Year's resolution for 2021; and it's an easy one to keep!

I also enjoyed reading "Hard Fun," a short essay by Seymour Papert. Reading and re-reading Papert always gives me inspiration for creating super-awesome learning environments!