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Bubbler program at Leopold

Julissa Armenta (l-r), Pamela Vazquez and Bianey Miranda stack cups in the library at Leopold Elementary School while their parents participate in classes elsewhere in the building. The Bubbler hosted the activity in an effort to narrow the gap between community and schools

With a $55,000 grant from the Madison Community Foundation, the Madison Public Library’s makerspace program has plans to expand to 13 community centers.

The Bubbler program offers pop-up hands-on workshops that promote participatory learning at a designated room in the downtown library and across the city at other programs. Its signature program offers “maker kits” that allow participants to create an object using a variety of materials.

Bayview Community Center will be the first location to test out the expanded Beyond the Bubler program.

“With this Beyond the Bubbler grant, we will be able to help many more children in our community learn in new and interesting ways,” Bayview executive director Alexis London said in a statement. “We’re also excited about the training opportunities this grant provides and can’t wait to see this program come to life.”

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MCF vice president of community impact Tom Linfield said the additional sites would be added in the spring. He listed Lussier Community Education Center, Kennedy Heights, East Madison Community Center, Goodman, Vera Court and Bridge Lakepoint as some of the future locations for the Beyond the Bubbler program.

Linfield said community center staff would be trained to use the materials to incorporate hands-on work into the “lifestream” of the center. He also said huge bins of Legos will be a feature at each of the community centers.

“It should be part of their everyday life, that kind of on hands learning,” Linfield said.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.