The Library as a Makerspace: Celebrating & Inspiring Creativity

Valarie Swayze, Head Editor, INALJ Louisiana

The Library as a Makerspace: Celebrating & Inspiring Creativity

valarie_swayze_300x201Libraries across the globe are participating in the Maker Movement to celebrate the inventions and creativity of local Makers while inspiring others to join the fun. A Maker Faire, an event created by Make: magazine, is known as the greatest show-and-tell on earth that celebrates DIY projects. A Maker may be either a hobbyist or an expert: anyone in a community who simply loves what he or she does. The Faires offer a unique opportunity for diverse groups to connect while sharing their creations. With projects ranging from knit designs and urban gardening to programming drones and building robots, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy. Hosting a Mini Maker Faire and/or installing a Maker area in your library are dynamic ways to promote hands-on learning that will certainly support your library’s mission.

The following resources will introduce you to the Maker Movement and guide you through the licensing and planning processes:

Maker Media Make: magazine, Make:, Maker Faires, and MakerShed are brands of Maker Media. This site links to each brand, provides logos and banners for promoting Faires, and shares press releases. Educational initiatives are also highlighted.

Make: The Internet companion to Make: magazine. Features digital versions of Make: magazine, including back issues. Highlights DIY ideas, open source projects and educational events. Don’t miss the extensive video collection and blog that presents even more ideas and Makers.

Maker Faire :  This site shares the story of the Maker Movement and highlights Maker Faires across the globe. Contains a master toolkit and links to purchase event tickets.

Mini Maker Faires: A planning tool and also contains a link to the application for the required license to organize a Mini Maker Faire.

MakerShed: The official store where DIY project supplies and kits are sold.

MakerSpace:  Request a free MakerSpace Playbook that details everything you need to know about how to plan a MakerSpace.

Once you have received your license and are familiar with how to organize an event, there are few limits to the type of program you can provide to the members in your community. For example, you can offer a 3-d printing workshop, an open source event, or a program catered to music makers. Alternatively, you could provide a tinkering studio for patrons to enjoy daily. Consider a planning team to maximize your ideas and gather support for your event. Collaborating with the Maker community will provide valuable input and ensure that the Makers have the appropriate environment for a successful Faire.

Here is a sampling of Mini Maker Faires at libraries:

Anchorage Mini Maker Faire – Loussac Library

“Micro” Maker Faire at the Library – North University Community Library – San Diego

Toronto Mini Maker Faire – Toronto Reference Library

Libraries are community learning centers, ideal for hosting Maker spaces and events. Maker programs will share a variety of talents and foster a curiosity for design, craft skills, science, and technology. Makers and visitors alike will have fun learning and be inspired to learn more, and they will likely use other resources at your library to explore these new interests.

Further Reading:

A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources by Ellyssa Kroski

Manufacturing Makerspace by American Libraries

Pinterest – Syracuse MakerLab: Explore ideas for a mobile MakerSpace from library students at Syracuse University. This is one of many boards to follow highlighting MakerSpaces in libraries.

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