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The Library as a Makerspace

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Libraries are no longer simply a holding area for books, they are community hubs. People gather at the library to share ideas and enrich their lives. Computers and internet are now standard in libraries and are often in demand. Unemployed individuals can come to the library and apply for jobs. Kids can do their homework (or play games) at the library. But did you know that libraries are now becoming much more than books, computers and internet? Libraries are becoming creation spaces, often called maker spaces (or makerspaces).

What is a makerspace? Personally, I like this definition “Modeled after hackerspaces, a makerspace is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests, learn to use tools and materials, and develop creative projects. It could be embedded inside an existing organization or standalone on its own. It could be a simple room in a building or an outbuilding that’s closer to a shed. The key is that it can adapt to a wide variety of uses and can be shaped by educational purposes as well as the students’ creative goals.” (Makerspaces, Participatory Learning, and Libraries).

Sound familiar? It is not really that much of a stretch for libraries that already offer book clubs with knitting or various craft programs.

Makerspaces in libraries are also connected to STEM which is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. There is also a group wanting to add art into the mix to create STEAM. Both ideas dovetail nicely with offering maker space for people to experiment and create.

Is your library already a makerspace? If not, can you envision it becoming one?

Here are more resources on makerspaces:
Westport Library Maker-Space
News story from the Capital Gazette

Photo courtesy of Helen K via photopin cc