Cultural Competence and the Maker Movement

As the Maker Movement gains momentum across the country in schools and libraries, YALSA’s Cultural Competence Task Force is encouraging organizers to think about ways to expand the scope of maker programs to broaden their appeal to all kids. Making isn’t just about robots and Legos, and it’s not just for the “nerdy” boy. In fact there are many developments and initiatives that are changing the definition of makers and making that we want to highlight. From Black Girls Code, New York City’s Mouse.org, DreamYard’s DIY Dream it Yourself, the Community Science Workshop Network, to programs like Able Gamers and the Washington D.C. Public Library’s “DIY Fair for People with (and without) Disabilities”, we are seeing a concerted effort to engage and include children from underserved communities so they may envision a future for themselves in the tech world.

Another important direction for the maker movement is to step away from the robots and find opportunities to include maker activities that tap into a broader range of cultures and traditions. A research group at MIT called High Low Tech is a wonderful source of information about this topic and offers tutorials for some amazing and unique projects. We take particular inspiration from Leah Buechley, a designer, engineer, and educator who likes to create tools and programs that mix together cutting edge technology with traditional art forms (her inventions include the Lilypad Arduino). A great discussion of equity and the maker movement, and a nice shout out to Buechley’s work, can also be found at Rafi Santo’s blog.

If you’ve been thinking about how you can incorporate the maker movement into your library programming, we encourage you to take some time to explore these resources and find ways to connect with kids who may not think “making” is for them.

 

submitted by YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force

The mission of the YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force is to help you incorporate cultural competence into your everyday work, and to increase the relevance and value of our libraries as partners in our communities, especially in reaching traditionally underserved young adults. Kim Dare, 2014-2015 Chair

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