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Libraries as Makerspaces AFPL 12 September 2013 Russell Palmer

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Page 1: Libraries as makerspaces

Libraries as Makerspaces

AFPL12 September 2013

Russell Palmer

Page 2: Libraries as makerspaces

What is a makerspace?

• A place where people learn to use tools and materials and develop creative projects

• It can be embedded inside an existing organization or stand alone

• It is adaptable—it can be shaped by• Educational goals• The Creative interests of individuals/groups

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Defined by sharing/collaboration

• Sharing of materials and skills• Teaching/learning new skills• Mindset isn’t “we got a 3D printer, let’s

build a makerspace around it” • Makerspaces are not born out of

space/materials• Born out of the mindset of community

collaboration, partnership, and creativity

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Incubator for ideas

• A makerspace is an “incubator for ideas”

• It is a place where content can be created

• It is a place where content will be consumed

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What we can achieve…

• Foster play and exploration• Nurture peer to peer learning• Support learning opportunities in the

community• Work with community members to

become true partners• Develop a culture of creativity within

the library

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What works so far?

• Article: Good, T, others. (2013). Manufacturing Makerspaces. American Libraries Online.


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Generally speaking

• Products, space, configuration in makerspaces vary wildly

• However, the approaches to implementation do not

• 3 examples

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Common misconception: It isn’t always about technology

• The maker idea can be “low” tech: • Quilting/Sewing• Textile design• Creating film, video, music • Arts and crafts

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“Makerspace models that work”

• 1. Allen Co. (Indiana) Public Library • “Collaborate”• Worked with a non-profit called

TekVenutre, who needed space • The library promotes the TekVenture

Maker Station while TekVenture delivers the makerspace programs

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The collaborative goals

• TekVenture needed a practical solution to their space issue,  a physical presence where the community could visit to learn about them

• The library needed a partner to help work through ideas

• expose the library/staff to making• Collaborative partner to help with

implementation of a makerspace

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The space

• TekVenture provided a 50-by-10-foot trailer; wired it for phone, power, and internet; filled it with tools; and then parked it in a lot across the street from the library. ACPL’s costs are less than $200 a month for utilities and other services

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What happens there?

• Classes by technology and other experts• basic robot assembly • circuit bending • holography • welding and much more• 50 classes a month• Weekly maker meetups*• library staff receive hands-on exposure to


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*What happens at a maker meetup?

• It depends• Structure evolves based on

expertise, equipment, and interests • “programmers, electronics hackers,

robotics enthusiasts, costumers, artists, model makers, gamers and other like-minded types can come together and work on projects”

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The impact on library and community

• Maker Station is home to weekly maker meetups and the place where library staff receive hands-on exposure to making

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2. Cleveland Public Library (OH): “centralize, develop, deploy”

• Goal: • “make libraries the center of

learning, where technology is provided that levels the playing field for the disadvantaged”

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The Space: TechCentral

• State of the art computer lab• “Tech toybox”—Kindles, ipads, and

other technology • 3D Printer• In the library (key to this program) • Utilized former A/V room space,

integrated A/V into general collection

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• Funded through existing budget lines• 14 member internal staff team are

regular staff members chosen for technology prowess

• Staff offer technology training classes and one-on-one training sessions on tech topics

• No new hires, staff redeployed from other departments

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Addressing staffing concerns

• Volunteers (remember, this is about the community!)

• Students in the community (ischool—but think of the possibilities with Georgia State/Tech/and beyond!)

• Georgia Tech has a space already—its primarily student funded/maintained!

• Ifs and buts…• Some makerspaces may emphasize “staffing and

expertise as costly as space and equipment”• Or model it so that “staffing the space requires a

minimum of direct staff involvement”

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Getting staff buy in

• Get staff at every level involved in every layer of planning

• Greatest fear- “will I become outmoded by technology?”

• No! opportunity to learn new things

• “By creating access to the experience and establishing it as a natural extension of our work, we were able to move ahead as a team, enthusiastically committed to this development of Making in the library.”

• Lauren Britton & Sue Considine, Fayetteville (NY) Free Library

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3. DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library at the University of Nevada in Reno

• “Opportunistic/entrepreneurial”• Saw changing spaces as the only

way to move with low budget• Assessed space in library• Determined print periodicals were

low use, stored off site and recovered 18,000 ft of collaborative space

• Furnished space from surplus

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The space

• Electronics toolkits • “Idea paint” instead of whiteboards (-$500

each)• Two 3D printers (one color, one

monochrome)—reinvested money from periodicals budget

• Increased engagement: “Prior to the change, hourly head counts in the library peaked at 24. Now they average more than 200 and are expected to reach the rated capacity of 400 by spring finals week”

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Hands on time

• Based on what you know so far, what are some ideas/subject areas you might consider when creating makerspaces?

• Consider your community of users (who are they? What do they need to know?)

• Consider broad ideas: education, collaboration, learning, partnerships

• And in teams of two, take 5 minutes and come up with a list of three ideas for “what should we do/what should be in our makerspace” and for each of those, come up with one learning outcome

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• My community-Many older adults with limited technology experience

• Need: – To learn more about using mobile devices

• Subject area for my makerspace:– Mobile technology

• What is in my space?: – Create a Technology Tool Box per the example of

Cleveland Public Library with mobile devices donated from the community or a retail partner (Best Buy?)

• Result: – Older adults learn more about/get hands on experience

with mobile devices

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Keeping their attention

• Adults: • “I think that [librarians should be]

actively pursuing ways to help people who are from nontraditional audiences in your hackerspaces, find the thing that they need to do and show them how to do it”

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Keeping their attention

• Kids: • “Throwing smart, enthusiastic kids—who have

received a little bit of mentorship—at a mountain of e-waste is the best way to get going, I think. Particularly if you can partner up with places that need computers. If you can get started turning e-waste into functional computers, your problem isn’t going to be making computers run; it is going to be getting rid of them fast enough.”

– Cory Doctorow

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Keeping teens engaged

• Have a diversity of equipment and ideas (remember, not JUST about technology)

• Don’t forget women and girls – example: Make Magazine in “Men’s

Interest section of periodicals at bookstore

– Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) Magazine dedicated its August 2013 issue to makerspaces and teens

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Example• “The first part of my Mobile Makerspace involves storage

carts on wheels, a ton of Legos, a ton of Duct Tape, cutting boards and, scariest of all, safety cutting blades (regular scissors don't work well for Duct Tape). My goal is to be able to easily move the items in and out of the meeting room to have my makerspace programs. The initial cost wasn't bad, around $1,000. And it has broad appeal for school age, tween and teens. It allows them to get their creativity and problem solving on in a safe, social environment. Eventually I would love to add some higher tech elements, but this is the right starting point for my library.”

» Karen Jensen, On the Teen Librarian Tool Box blog»


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• With peers and mentors• Building trust relationships• Building PRODUCTIVE relationships that help

them learn• Listen to input from teen users• “If teens see an exciting space and develop with

mentors who can introduce new interests and build in new/additional ones with teen input, they'll stay”

– Buffy Hamilton, formerly of Cleveland Public Library

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• IMLS Grants • “Learning Labs in Libraries and

Museums” •


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• Donations– $– Time– Equipment– Space

• Collaboration– Educational Institutions– Non-profit groups– ? Where could AFPL look?

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• Make Magazine Online•• Makerspace Playbook•

02/MakerspacePlaybook-Feb2013.pdf• Makerspaces: Surveying the Scene in Illinois (ILA)•• “Manufacturing Makerspaces”•


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Finding makerspaces, Maker Faires, meet ups, etc.


• Makerspace Directory•


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Key Makerspaces in Libraries

• FabLab-Fayetteville (NY) Free Public Library

•• Cleveland Public Library•

sCollections/TechCentral.aspx• Georgia Tech Invention Studio•

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More key libraries

• AnyThink Libraries (CO) •

studio• Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh • http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.

org/?tag=makerspace• Chicago Public Library “Pop Ups”•


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Teen/Kids specific makerspaces

• Madison Public Library –

• Prairie Creek Library (K12) Anime Club–


• H.Y.P.E at Detroit Public Library –

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More stuff

• A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces (Open Education Database)


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Thank you!

Russell PalmerSupervisor, Professional Development [email protected], ext 4916