The White House will recognize Cleveland Public Library (CPL) Director Felton Thomas, Jr. as a “White House Champion for Making” on Friday, June 17 at The White House. Director Thomas is one of ten individuals from across the country to be recognized for efforts to make advances in technology and platforms, educational opportunities, or spaces that empower Americans to become tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.
“I am humbled by this tremendous recognition from the White House, and am honored to accept it on behalf of our hard-working and committed CPL staff,” said Director Thomas. “This recognition symbolizes the importance and relevance of public libraries being at the forefront of providing cutting-edge technology to our community to open the doors to creativity and entrepreneurship.”
Director Thomas and CPL are being recognized for the innovative makerspace, TechCentral, which opened in 2012. TechCentral provides open access for patrons to laser engraving, 3D printing, audio, video, photo production tools, as well as basic computers and laptops. Recently, TechCentral has expanded to include MakerLab programs at 27 CPL branches featuring high and low-tech versions of photography, 3D printing, font creation, computer programming, art and design, laser engraving and cutting, and more.
The celebratory event at the White House marks the anniversary of the White House Maker Faire when President Obama launched the Nation of Makers initiative, which focuses on ensuring that Americans of all backgrounds have access to new technology such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and other technology that encourages Americans to create and make.
The event will be live streamed on the White House website at whitehouse.gov/live on Friday, June 17, at 1:00 PM ET. Follow the conversation at #WHChamps and #NationOfMakers.