Pathfinder: Maker[Space]Ship, an Innovative Mobile Workshop

Pathfinder is a series of blogs about intrepid library staff who are leading interesting programs that you may not yet know about.

Today's Pathfinder is not a person, but is still a valuable member of the Library community, the Library's very own Maker[Space]Ship!

The mission of the Maker[Space]Ship (MSS) is according to the Library:

"Overcomes access barriers in San José to foster creative ideas, connect people with technology, and encourage problem-solving, collaboration, and discovery."


"With its collection of maker equipment and robotics, including a 3D printer, laser & vinyl cutter, a robot petting zoo, and a full suite of laptops, the Maker[Space]Ship provides the perfect way to blast off into STEAM orbit!"

Here are some quick facts about this unusual vehicle:

  • It has a capacity of 20 people
  • Includes 20 laptops
  • 39 feet
  • 240 square feet inside

The MSS Has Visited Many Places!

Here are some major events that the MSS has already attended and a list of school districts that it has served:

  • Children's Day Event
  • District 7 Resource Fair & Movie Nights
  • Downtown ICE with Kristi Yamaguchi Foundation
  • Juneteenth Festival
  • Silicon Valley Pride
  • SJMA Maker Day
  • St. John Vianney Annual Fiesta & Carnival
  • Tully Night Market
  • Viva Calle SJ
  • Viva Parks Neighborhoods

Following is a list of school districts that have requested a visit from the MSS:

  • Alpha Public Schools
  • Rocketship Charter Schools
  • Berryessa Union School District
  • Evergreen Elementary School District
  • Franklin McKinley School District
  • Moreland School District
  • Oak Grove School District
  • Union School District
  • Mt. Pleasant Elementary School District

The Maker[Space]Ship's Visit

For my Library's Maker[Space]Ship's visit, we asked the wonderful Captain Benjamin and Librarian Padmashree to please provide a visit that focused on coding.  Your organization may request something else!

You can't miss a visit by this vehicle!  39 feet long, the MSS takes up about 3-5 parking spaces.  Many people driving by the Library certainly took a second look at the MSS to see if they could figure out what was going on at the Library!

Staff onboard are so helpful and knowledgeable:

  • Librarian Elizabeth Allen, though no longer a member of the team, was instrumental in laying the foundation for this program!
  • Librarian Padmashree Gadde has an engineering background.  According to her bio, she "presents opportunities to inspire, discover, collaborate and develop innovative thinking skills to "Make It Happen" and achieve their dreams."
  • Full Time Clerk Benjamin Fernandez has a background in early childhood education, warehouse, and logistics.  He says, "What I enjoyed most working at the MSS is seeing the children's initial reaction of awe and excitement when they come inside ready to learn. What I appreciate most is their expression of gratitude, including from teachers and parents for our service and commitment."

There was a steady stream of visitors for the first few hours.  There was one lull, but the MSS was soon filled with 20 people again!  Lots of people commented that they enjoyed the robots, which users could control.

One comment I kept hearing over and over again was that people were unaware that the Library has a mobile STEAM classroom.

Staff were here for 3 hours and were able to provide about 100 people with a unique experience!  The MSS has state-of-the-art technology, including 3D printers, laser cutters, Desktop CNC, telescopes, microscopes, computers, and much more.

A green vehicle, the MSS is powered by solar and runs on diesel.  It includes a wi-fi hotspot and and educational programming.

Intrepid filmmakers will be surprised to learn that there is an on-board green screen!

How to Request the MSS!

Interested?  Here is the contact information for the MSS:

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section below.