About the Collaboratory

The Collaboratory is OPEN!

The Collaboratory is the library’s makerspace, located on the 2nd floor.

A makerspace is a collaborative place that encourages exploration, creativity, design, and building, using a variety of media, tools, technology, and objects. In the Collaboratory, you’ll have access to an array of equipment, tools, knowledge, and support—whether you lean high-tech, low-tech, or no-tech—along with helpful staff.

Come here to build your dream project, collaborate on projects with others, learn how to make new things, and work with some amazing new tools. 

Questions? Reach the Digital Services staff at 847-272-2098 or by email at collaboratory@northbrook.info.

Visiting the Collaboratory

Our space is free and open to everyone. There is no cost to use the equipment. Use of equipment is first come, first served.

You must be 11 years of age or older to be in the Collaboratory alone. Vulnerable adults and those younger than 11 must be accompanied and monitored at all times by a parent or other responsible caregiver who is 14 years of age or older.

The Collaboratory is closed on Mondays. You can visit us the rest of the week during regular library hours: 

  • 9-9 Tuesdays-Thursdays 
  • 9-6 Fridays
  • 9-5 Saturdays
  • 1-5 Sundays
  • CLOSED Mondays

We ask that patrons be respectful of others, and take care of the space as if it were their own.

Read our full policy.

Projects & Possibilities

You can learn to sew, crochet, 3D print a replacement for a broken part, laser cut a plaque, edit your movie, convert your vinyl to digital, make a book, and so much more. While we're not a full woodworking shop, we have many tools to build small to midsize projects and prototypes.

If you need help, we have knowledgeable staff to offer guidance and help you learn to use the equipment. Stop by during open hours.

Equipment, Tools & Kits

We offer a variety of equipment: a laser cutter, CNC machine, 3D printers, embroidery machine, digital media recording/editing equipment, and more. Staff will facilitate your use of the equipment and tools. View our full list of equipment, tools, and kits.

Materials Price List
Bringing your own materials is always free; staff just have to approve them first. If you have materials that typically come with Safety Data Sheet/Material Safety Data Sheet (SDS/MSDS), bring the sheet with you if possible.

If you use our materials we add those costs to your library card as a fee. Fees can be paid at the check out desk on the first floor. The card owner must be present to purchase materials. View our price list.

You can register your library card for free with us as long as your card is in good standing and you have appropriate ID.

Please note, equipment will not be run 30 minutes before we close, to ensure the space can close on time.

3D Printing Options

The opening of the Collaboratory has brought some new changes to 3D printing at the library:

  • We charge for prints: Printing is $0.05 per gram of filament. We use MakerBot Print software to provide you with an estimated cost that you'll need to agree to pay. Once printed, we weigh your print - including rafts and supports - and use that measurement to give you a final cost. We've found that the final weight is typically less than the estimate. That final cost is added as a fee to your library card. You can pay that fee at the check out desk on the first floor, or pay through your library account online.
  • You can email us your print or run it yourself: We still accept print jobs via email, where they are added to a queue. Now you can come into the Collaboratory and staff can help you prepare and run your print. Printing charges still apply. Use of the public 3D printer is first come, first served, and it cannot be reserved. Your prints still need to follow our printing rules
  • Printing is available to non-residents: Anyone can use our 3D printer as long as they have a library card in good standing that is registered with our library. 

Visit our 3D printing page for more information on printing.

Peltz Digital Suite

Thanks to a generous bequest from Northbook resident Howard Peltz, the Collaboratory houses the Peltz Digital Suite, a set of two rooms located within the makerspace. The Peltz Digitization Room allows you to convert your old media to digital, while the Peltz Digital Media Lab provides you with the tools to create and edit digital media: spoken word, photos, movies, images, and sound recordings.

Use of these rooms is first come, first served, and you must be present to monitor your project at all times. Speak to staff in the Collaboratory when you arrive, and they can sign you into a room.

Peltz Digitization Room

The Digitization Room allows you to turn your old analog media into digital.


Prefer to convert your VHS to DVD at home? You can check out a DVD/VCR recorder to take home.

Peltz Digital Media Lab

The Digital Media Lab is an enclosed room with a green screen wall and outfitted with hardware and software designed to help users create and edit digital recordings (audio, movie, images, etc.). 



  • Adobe Creative Cloud (all apps)
  • Audacity
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Garage Band
  • Logic Pro IX
  • Pro Tools First (free version)