Program Wrap-Up: What are makerspaces and how can they fit into your library?

Mar 6th, 2013 | By | Category: Technology Blog

Participatory spaces are popping at libraries across the country, following in the path of their more tech oriented cousin, the digital media lab. Offering courses and resources that appeal to the DIYer, makerspaces provide opportunities for all interests and skill levels, from papercrafting and needlework to basic engineering and robotics. Other participatory spaces give library patrons a true interactive experience, inviting them to create and edit alongside their community members.

At the last LACONI-TECH program, presented jointly with LACONI-RASS, we showcased three librarians who are bringing participatory spaces and programs into their libraries.

Monica Harris, Oak Park Public Library’s Customer Service Manager, discussed a bit of the theory behind creating participatory spaces in libraries and museums, and highlighted OPPL’s Idea Box as an example. After converting a former cafe space into a blank enclosed canvas, the Idea Box has been transforming itself monthly for over a year now, drawing in visitors to play, learn, share, and experience.

Monica Harris and OPPL's Idea Box

Monica Harris shows one iteration of the Idea Box

Ridgeway Burns, Outreach Librarian at Glen Ellyn Public Library, brought a MakerBot 3-D printer to show off to the crowd, demonstrating not only how it works, but how he offers both in library and outreach programs to involve the community. Ridgeway also fielded questions about the future of MakerBots and possible uses for them in various types of libraries and settings.

Steve Teeri, who braved the snow and drove in from the Detroit Public Library, is DPL’s HYPE Makerspace Conductor. Within their teen area, Steve and colleagues created a separate makerspace, offering crafting, bike repair, and Arduino robot classes. Steve discussed the importance of partnering with outside agencies when creating a makerspace, as well as tapping into the expertise of your community to help maintain it. Steve’s slides are available for viewing here.

Steve Teeri

Steve discusses the makerspace at Detroit Public Library.

Thank you to all of our speakers for a job well-done!

every day i'm hustlin'

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