Maker March: Are You Already Making @ Your Library?

Everyone is talking about Makerspaces. When I say Makerspace do you immediately think of a room filled with laser cutters, 3D printers, and teens creating giant programmable robots capable of restacking meeting room chairs? Probably, although the robots may just be me.

The reality for most libraries is that we don’t have a dedicated space in which to make stuff. But we do have the capability to encourage making at our libraries. Making means learning through trial and error, through practical application, and through hands-on experience. Making means giving access to communities to grow and create something better. Continue reading

Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part three)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the third in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Project evaluation

Compton and Walker designed tools to help evaluate the program on two levels:

1. Library users: To evaluate the effectiveness of the makerspace activities and programs, they developed a survey tool to poll actual participants as a group before and after an activity. It is designed to record changes in skills, attitude, and behavior. So far there has been mixed success, but the survey is being modified as it is used and tested for effectiveness.

3D printing Continue reading

Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part two)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the second in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Timeline

Pilot libraries were selected in December 2012. Three webinars and three face-to-face trainings were held from January through November 2013.

Materials and tools

ICfL wanted to provide a variety of STEAM materials and tools so libraries could explore many different programming ideas. Selected tools:

  • supported project objectives,
  • aligned with Common Core Standards,
  • allowed for complex projects,
  • introduced motorized designs,
  • included curriculum and project ideas, and
  • included trainers or local support when possible.

materials

Materials from PCS Edventures!, Reuseum, Maker Media/MakerShed, and RepRap MendleMax 3D Printers were chosen.

Training

It was essential to enlist an experienced trainer to work with the team, and PCS Edventures provided Kellie Dean to lead the workshops. Dean is an expert on experiential learning and helped build the foundation needed to implement the pilot.
Continue reading

Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part one)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the first in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Makerspaces bring people together to collaborate, create, design, and share resources and knowledge. With increasing frequency these makerspaces are being started in libraries. By providing materials, instruction in the use of new technology and an environment that supports the creative process, libraries are powerful equalizers that level the playing field for their users who may not otherwise have access to these hubs of community engagement.

makeit

Makerspaces were launched in five public libraries across Idaho through Make It at the Library, a pilot project implemented in 2012-2013 by the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL).

These pilot libraries represent diverse geographic regions as well as rural and urban communities:

  • Ada Community Library, with branches in four locations
  • Community Library Network, with branches in eight locations
  • Gooding Public Library, a one-room library in a rural community
  • Meridian Library District, with branches in two locations
  • Snake River School/Community Library, a public library located within a public high school

Though the project initially focused on engaging teens through maker activities to draw them into these innovative spaces, the makerspaces will eventually be available to the entire community as the project evolves.

The “Make It at the Library” project provides the necessary materials and training for pilot library staff to implement creative, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) programming for tweens and teens. The project also includes training on leveraging partnerships, involving community, and evaluating outcomes.
Continue reading

Idaho Libraries Shake Up the Maker Movement: Creating makers, then spaces (part four)

Just in time for Teen Tech Week planning, the last in a four-part series detailing how one state library commission facilitated a culture of learning and experimentation through the maker movement in a variety of library settings.

By Teresa Lipus, Public Information Specialist, Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) with significant input from Erica Compton and Sue Walker, ICfL project coordinators.

Project evaluation

Making it work

The libraries are doing an exceptional job implementing programs at their libraries. Below are some examples of how the pilot libraries have integrated the maker culture into their libraries and embraced making in all forms.

  • Some libraries implemented weekly open making time. Others have a variety of programs offered throughout the week—each with a specific topic or focus.
  • Not all programming is at a specific time and place. Stealth challenges prove to be a good way to expand the makerspace idea and allow participants to be creative on their own time schedule. Daily or weekly challenges are set out and require little or no staff time to implement. Some libraries tethered digital cameras near the challenge so kids could snap a picture of the finished project and enter it into a weekly contest.
  • One library is looking at creating an outdoor makerspace where gardening, nature, and other related activities can be implemented. Continue reading