Makerspaces are popping up everywhere and the definition of makerspaces is constantly evolving like the spaces themselves. Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. The focus, actually, is on the type of learning that goes on, not the stuff. Making is about learning that is: interest-driven and hands-on and often supported by peer-to-peer learning. This is often referred to as connected learning. Also, you don’t need a set space to facilitate this type of learning. You can have pop up makerspaces at various library branches, afterschool programs, community centers, etc. Or you can set up a ‘maker cart’ that can travel anywhere in the library. Perhaps what your teens need most are maker backpacks that are stuffed with resources and activities they can do at home.
Why focus on maker programs and spaces in your library? These types of activities help teens explore their interests and build skills that they need for college and careers. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has a great two page informational sheet (.pdf) that talks about making and libraries. Share this with your supervisor to help them understand why these types of learning activities are important.
If you are thinking about ways to bring in some maker programs into your library, begin with identifying what kind of learning activities your teens want/need the most. Digital, craft, technology, a mix? Maybe your teens want you to work with them to create activities to do a little bit of the above. What do you need to get started? First, build your knowledge of connected learning. Your one stop shop for that is the Connected Learning Alliance. Be sure to check out their free webinar archive. Another very good connected learning resource to explore is remakelearning.org