Launch Pad Staff Tech Bytes


Merge Cube Apps

Description: The Merge Cube VR/AR kit plus your own smartphone offers a virtual reality experience. You can download these apps on your phone that work with the Merge Cube.

  • Merge Explorer: Explore a volcano, great white shark and the solar system
  • 3D Museum Viewer: Learn about priceless artifacts from museums around the world. You can “hold” them in your hands without sneaking into a museum.
  • HoloGLOBE: The world is in your hands! This interactive globe uses data from NASA and NOAA.

Lamination Ideas

Description: Check out a Laminator Kit, which includes a laminator machine and one free lamination pouch. You can also use your own standard lamination pouches if you want to try these projects.

  • Hundred Lamination Projects: Use a laminator machine for more than just laminating an insurance card. This website presents a hundred different projects you can try.
  • Twenty Awesome Projects: This website that lists twenty lamination projects with more in-depth information.
  • Laminating Napkins and Tissue Paper: This Youtube tutorial shows you how to laminate decorative napkins and tissue paper for use in various crafting projects.


Making Sweet Treats

Description: Satisfy your sweet tooth and get busy in the kitchen. There are projects for all ages.

Sustainability: Mend Your Clothes

Description: Make your clothes last a little longer or add extra flair in the process with these mending techniques. 

Mindfulness: Art Journaling

Description: If your brain feels full and you’re looking for a way to get those thoughts out, or if you want to document your observations of the world, give these crafts a try. 

Get Started with Knitting

Description: Ready to try knitting? The Launch Pad on the Go Knitting kit contains knitting needles and yarn to get you started. 

  • Knitting 101: Learn to Knit: In this video tutorial, Kelly, a regular guest instructor in The Launch Pad will guide you through the basics of knitting: casting on, the knit stitch, and binding off.
  • Stitch ‘n Bitch : The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller: I highly recommend this book as it is how I began my knitting journey. Instructions and tips for two styles of knitting, you’re bound to find one that sticks.
  • VeryPink Knits:  Here is my other secret weapon for learning how to knit. Staci at VeryPink Knits provides a wealth of knowledge and easy to follow video tutorials. I still reference these videos when I need to learn a new skill or get a refresher.



Description: Recommended for teens and adults at all levels of sewing. Those starting out or lacking confidence in their abilities can benefit from all of the below, while seasoned sewists will find the latter recommendations great resources for further project exploration. Bonus: Members from all libraries can now utilize our new online Sewing Certification!

  • Sewing Machine Kit: After completing a brief certification process to learn how our machines function, ITPLD cardholders can check out this Launch Pad on the Go kit, which can be taken home for two weeks.
  • Sewing Machine Basics on Creativebug: If additional help is needed or you’d just like to increase your confidence using a sewing machine, this short Creativebug class will help you to learn more about the parts of the machine.
  • A great free resource for sewing projects, tips and tricks. Melissa, the sewist, shares her free patterns for all sorts of practical projects, garments, and more to those who sign up for her newsletter. She also makes blog and video tutorials of her projects.  


Description: Recommended for the whole family. Those interested in taking a closer look at the night sky can access our collection of astronomy books as well as free videos and other resources to learn what to look for and where to go about doing it.

  • Skywatch Weekly: Adler Planetarium’s new series through YouTube allows watchers to tune in and find out what is visible by the naked eye and by telescope on a weekly basis. Experts provide tips on how best to find these celestial bodies and astronomical events.
  • Best Locations to Stargaze: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources provides a thorough list of great places to visit that offer a good nighttime viewing experience. Also recommended is the Adler Planetarium’s list of their recommendations within and outside the city of Chicago.
  • Dark Skies: A Practical Guide to Astrotourism by Valerie Stimac: Locations and tips for where to stargaze for those willing to travel. This book can help you find some hidden treasures.

Birdwatching for Beginners 

Description: Recommended for all ages interested in birds, getting out into nature or observing wildlife. The Binoculars Kit is available for checkout for teens and adults, although adults can check out the kit and use it with children to make it a fun family affair.

  • Binoculars Kit
    Available for two-week check out. Visit the Circulation desk to request it, or put a hold on it through the above link.
  • How to Know the Birds: The Art & Adventure of Birding by Ted Floyd
    This book provides portraits of over 200 species of birds native to North America, a whole host of information regarding these birds, as well as tips on how to be a better birder. 
  • Birding Hotspots: The Chicago Audubon Society has a list of great birding locations organized by area of the city and nearby counties.

Music Making

Description: For those interested in making music or DJing, there are both physical and virtual tools one can use to help them get started! Recommended for teens and adults.

  • Keyboard/Drum Pad Kit: This Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard Launch Pad on the Go Kit can be checked out for by ITPLD cardholders, high school and older.
  • YouTube Review & Walk Through: This YouTube video by Masters-of-Music, provides a ~6 minute walk through of the Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard Controller, which can help those that have not used it before.
  • Gale Courses – Music Made Easy: This instructor-led class offers 24 hours of musical concepts, including full detail of a keyboard and music theory. Students will learn to build intervals, major scales and chords. Six-week acesss to the course.