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Posts Tagged ‘library makerspace’

Why Make? An Exploration of User-Perceived Benefits of Makerspaces

During the last decade, technology has provided us with tremendous individual power, and this has encouraged the development of what is being called the Maker Movement. This movement is having a profound effect upon the manufacturing sector as well as the individual’s ability to explore and share creative ideas using computer-aided design and an online network of collaborators. In response to interest in participating in self-directed projects that utilize digital tools and knowledge, libraries and other community-based organizations have created makerspaces. These facilities provide users with the physical tools and space to pursue their interests and collaborate on projects. Educational research shows that this type of activity can facilitate learning, but little is known about what the users themselves perceive to be the benefits of access to makerspaces. This exploratory study examines users’ perceptions of their experience in public library makerspaces.

Tools

Getting Your Makerspace Off the Ground

In all types of libraries, services, collections, and spaces are being redesigned as a response to changing patron needs and preferences. Advancement in technology is fueling these changes. Outside of libraries, these changes are causing businesses to rethink their products, services, and delivery methods. All of this together is changing how the modern workforce performs its work and the skill sets it needs in the dynamic modern workplace. At Johnson County Library, located in the Kansas suburbs surrounding Kansas City, these factors combined, led to the creation of a makerspace.[1] As the library re-evaluated its approach to traditional business reference services, a redesign of the central library was also in the planning stages. Moreover, a flexible approach to programming allowed these three forces to combine, creating fertile grounds for the launch of a makerspace.

pink and purple prosthetic arm and hand

Prosthetic Device Created at Library’s Innovation Lab

Five-year-old Katelyn Vincik was born without a fully developed left hand and is on a waiting list for a professional prosthetic device. Her parents, however, had heard about the e-NABLE Community, an organization of volunteers who develop and share designs for 3-D-printable prosthetics. Kimberly Vincik (Katelyn’s mother) contacted Harris County (Houston, Texas) Public Library to see what options were available for 3-D printing the required parts. Harris County libraries are home to the Jocelyn H. Lee Innovation Lab, and fortunately for Katelyn, the Innovation Lab is home to a fantastic community of volunteers eager to help.