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We are pleased to announce the launch of a new local initiative whose time has come, a hackerspace for Hornby. What is a hackerspace? Essentially, it’s a communal workspace; a place to help create sustainable community and self-reliance from a grass-roots collective of Hornby people by sharing space, ideas, tools and resources.

One way to describe a hackerspace is a zone for extreme recycling – MacGyvering with what you have at hand; using something in a way in which it was not originally intended. Think of the wheel in the ceiling of the round room at The Hall, and you’ve got the picture. Our community Hall beautifully exemplifies the values of artistry, of eccentricity, of problem-solving, pride of place and cooperation that are the best of Hornby. A hackerspace on Hornby will provide a space to foster these creative skills that we all identify our community by.

We have the advantage of joining an international movement of hackerspaces. The Whole Earth Catalogue of today is the internet, where the global community is sharing their creative problem-solving solutions in open source. “The term “open source” refers to something that can be modified and shared because its design is publicly accessible. While it originated in the context of computer software development, today the term “open source” designates a set of values. Open source projects, products, or initiatives are those that embrace and celebrate open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community development.” (

If you’re thinking that a hackerspace sounds like an good fit for Hornby, you’re not alone. Presented at the Home Grown Homes conference, the idea was met with immediate enthusiasm and support. The Facebook group “Happy Hornby Hackerspace” has more than 60 members, and is growing daily. It has the support of HICEEC, and was positively received at two HIRRA meetings, with more support and offers to help with financing options. There has been one formal meeting at the Fire Hall comprised of 18 members of our community; all ages and a great cross section of Hornby was there. By the time you read this, there will have been a second meeting, beginning with a potluck dinner, and a sort of “show-and-tell” for folks to talk about projects that they are working on.

The list of potential uses for a hackerspace is extensive, including woodwork, metal work, mechanical, sewing, cooking and more. In the plans are a tool library, regular monthly meetings, and work on finding a hackerspace a home. The Fire Hall will potentially be available within the next year or 2, and we feel that this could be an excellent re-use of the building. We’re currently in the process of working out a roadmap for converting the Fire Hall into a communal workspace.

The Hornby Hackerspace addresses so many local concerns: the continuance of our local culture and skillset; economic resilience and business incubation; and the workspace and social needs of people building and living in small spaces, just to name a few. Imagine a regular repair clinic, where we can try to fix those broken lamps, toys, and appliances, or taking a class in basic car repair, or accessing trades training, arts workshops, a learning kitchen or a rehearsal space. Don’t have the money to buy or a space to put a serger, printing press, or a lathe? Join a hackerspace! In elevating Hornby’s reputation as a space for learning, for all ages, we could provide a space younger people will want to come to in order to credential themselves. We invite you to join the Happy Hornby Hackerspace Facebook group to learn more, check out and bring your ideas and spirit of can-doism to our next meeting at the firehall on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7:00pm.

By Andrew Mark, Jules Platt, Quana Parker, and Jeff Rabena