Another pause in the maker journey: Maker sessions at ALA

I didn’t have time to attend many sessions at ALA Annual, but two of the sessions I did see relate to makerspaces, both on programs running out of California public libraries.

Make-HER at Sunnyvale Public Library

Make-HER is an ongoing library program of two-hour workshops designed specifically for young girls (to encourage interest in STEM). Girls attend a maker program with their mother or other significant female in their life. In this way, the older women learn what the girls learn and can continue working with them on their project. MakeHER sessions are led by female makers from the surrounding community (called #ladymakers), who are approached and asked to teach something their passionate about.

They archive all of their workshops on a blog, so those who cannot attend can find all the information they missed.

I really enjoyed looking through the pictures of past events. Check them out at Sunnyvale Library Make-HER website.

The last portion of the session was a hands-on chance to try using paper circuits. We made glowing paper gems to attach to our nametags.

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The inner workings of my glowing paper gem. It consists of copper tape, an led, and a battery.
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Glowing paper gem in action

Naked Truth: Connect. Create. Contribute. at Mill Valley Library

I really liked this session on true storytelling (think The Moth, StoryCorps, This American Life) programming from Mill Valley Library. While this is not as directly related to makerspaces, I think there are some natural connections that you’ll see later.

This started as a one-time event in which the library brought in several local professional storytellers from the area to tell a story (wine was served). The event was highly successful, and from there the library got a grant for encouraging true storytelling.

With this grant, they continued their evening events with professional storytellers (connect). However, they also began to offer workshops in live storytelling and digital storytelling (create). And, all the works from this project are being saved in a central place for the community to view (contribute).

The digital storytelling is where I see the strongest connect to makerspaces. One of the panelists, Joan Bullen, was a patron who had participated in a digital storytelling class. She talked about how she learned to write and edit a script, tell a story and record it, and then edit the recorded story with photos. She talked about how it inspired her to create more, and then shared her digital story: My Two World Daughter.

Another panelist, Josh Healey, was one of the first storytellers at the live events who later ran live storytelling workshops. He talked about how he got involved and then performed his excellent piece, The Phoenix, about taking his nephew to the waterpark in the middle of a drought.

If you’re interested, the library put together a toolkit to help other libraries develop live storytelling programs: Naked Truth Toolkit.

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

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