Library Maker Fest! #librarymakerfest

Library Maker Fest!  June 18, 2015

by Michele LeSure

MicheleLesure1Hey, guess what?  I’m going to go to the Library Maker Fest this Thursday, June 18th, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Plant City Strawberry Festival Arthur Boring Civic Center.  And, if you were going to tell me that Plant City has a drive-in restaurant, I would reply, ‘haha, see, it’s listed on the map and at other locations.’  But enough about lunch choices!  I can’t wait to see all the different libraries and their programs for helping people make things.

The maker phenomenon has exploded in recent years with the advent of the portable desk-top 3-D printer.  As much as the beginnings of the WWW, Maker Culture (nee “DIY Culture”), has soared as a popular activity for the young and old to participate and innovate. American Libraries are at the forefront of this user experience, generating new resources daily for library customers to use and to be a part.

Starting at 9am, this first Library Maker Fest promises to offer a lot of information for libraries who are interested in participating in Maker Culture, or interested in supporting a local maker space in their community.  Libraries from all over Florida will be demonstrating their makerspace programs, and answering questions for people interested in developing or participating in their own maker spaces.

Chad Mairn, CTO of Novare Library Services, is collaborating with Tampa Bay Library Consortium to make Library Maker Fest a reality.  Thank goodness he’ll be there to help TBLC showcase library maker spaces this year, and may even lead a demonstration or two. In addition to collaborating with TBLC on this great event, Chad is also the Information Services Librarian from St. Petersburg College; His recent programming credits outside of Novare Library Services include organizing the first annual Mid-Pinellas Comic Con (& Maker Con), as well as running the Innovation Lab at St. Petersburg College.  When he’s not raising two kids he also plays in a band that has a beer named after it.

So, my first question, “is this thing going to be fun?” was met with a chuckle.  I don’t think Chad does anything that has an activity level of fun lower than a rubber-band and a stick.  When Chad and Novare’s President, Diana Silveira, began working with TBLC to plan this event, it was a match made in heaven, Chad says.

“Diana and I were struggling with a group to come up with the simplest plan of action for the Library Maker Fest,” Chad explained during a recent conversation with him about Library Maker Fest. “Then, we sat down with Jessica Riggins and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium for 20 minutes and not only had a plan but the beginnings of a website,” The partnership will make Library Maker Fest a success, Chad says.  “This couldn’t have been a better match between organizations.”

While Novare Library Services is a private business that provides library services and trainings, the Tampa Bay Library Consortium is better known as the people who brought you the Ask-a-Librarian internet chat/email/text Juggernaut that helps keep Floridians in the know about their libraries around the state, or provides them with help and resources for solid, online research.

I’ll do some live-blogging from Library Maker Fest from my Facebook and you can also follow me on Twitter.

Michele LeSure is a seasoned library worker who lives in Gainesville, Florida and works for the humanities branch library at the University of Florida.  When not advocating for libraries, Michele likes to play Second Life and talk to other information professionals through different online venues.  She is currently writing an article that reviews three years of survey data gathered about UF Libraries’ 24/5 Overnight Program.

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