The Call to the Maker Adventure

Why are you taking this class?

I’m excited by ideas that challenge or expand on traditional ideas about what makes a library. I love hearing about (and occasionally trying out) library projects that find new ways to connect and engage with the communities served by a library, especially ones that encourage experiences and interaction. I think maker spaces are one great way libraries are making themselves more participatory. On the other hand, I hear a lot of vague information about makers and maker spaces, but my actual knowledge about them is a bit limited. Enter LIS 7963: Makers and Maker Spaces.

On a more practical and less lofty level, I’m also taking this class because I want to graduate sooner rather than later. Also, in the last few months I’ve seen several librarian positions that ask for experience with maker spaces or maker technologies. This class seems like a fun way to make myself more employable.

What role do maker spaces play in libraries?

I’m going to admit something up front: I’m a bit of a maker space skeptic (please, don’t fail me!). I really like the ideas behind maker spaces–engaging the community, encouraging learning and creation, promotion STEM skills, etc. But, I feel like there is an overwhelming idea that maker spaces will somehow save libraries. Is your library struggling? Put in a maker space! Everyone will love it! You’re library will be saved.

I think this has more to do with how we talk about maker spaces rather than how maker spaces are actually designed an implemented. When it comes down to it, I fully believe in the ideas behind maker spaces, so I’m really not that good at being a library maker space skeptic.

3d printed calavera (skull) with description
I was looking for creative commons images of 3D printed objects (because 3D printers seem to be the mascot of maker spaces) when I found this neat project from San José Library. Teens made Día de los Muertos calaveras and then they were all put on a display with information about who the skull was designed to memorialize.
Photo credit San José Library, CC BY-SA 2.0

Maker spaces are a new interpretation of what the library has always been about: communities, information, education, and creation. They are an extension of the role libraries can play as a third space. They are about providing tools and spaces for patrons who want to create. They are about providing education opportunities for said tools. And, at their best, I think they also help libraries connect creators and makers, allowing new opportunities for collaboration.

How are you feeling about learning and/or using photo editing, video and audio production, using vinyl cutters and 3D printers and CAD software?

Very, very excited. I love learning new things, especially new skills. While I’ve played around a little bit with photo editing and video production when those skills were needed, I’ve not done anything with vinyl cutters/3D printers/CAD software. I can wait to get started!

This post was originally published on the St. Kate MLIS WordPress website.

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