Tag Archives: makerspace

Arts Gala, Technology, & the Maker Movement in Libraries

What an interesting weekend! The Arts Gala is officially over! What a successful event; there were so many wonderful artists and such a variety of art available. I purchased a new handmade mug (out of which I just drank a cup of tea, yum), a gift for my sister, a wooden kitchen tool for Nate, a handwoven mat to go under the Keurig I have at work, and a gorgeous polymer clay necklace pendant thing that matches the dress I bought for the event. It’s my reward for wearing the dress and for working so hard this week and weekend.

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I had a really interesting discussion with the artist that makes the wooden utensils. He talked about technology and how it seems to affect kids these days, and it morphed into how it also affects people his age, in their 50s and older. It used to be that kids spent more time outside, dreaming up things and entertaining themselves with their own creations. Now technology consumes kids and adults. I argue, though, that while it certainly can become consuming, kids are better at multitasking and can maintain a variety of interests.

This really gets me even more interested in the idea of implementing makerboxes in the library. Being able to integrate technology with other things (creating music, crafts, art, food, clothes, games, etc.) is vital right now, for kids and adults. For kids because, well, they’re our future, and technology is unarguably a part of the future. And for adults because they need to be able to get creative, learn new skills, and both fail and succeed at things, just like kids do. I would like our library to do several things with these makerboxes, but my thoughts are all too exciting and disjointed right now for them to be productive.

I want to create a few boxes with a handful of themed items within. Music, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), crafts/art.

I want to offer sporadic and unstructured library programs involving one makerbox at a time. For example, we set out the STEM makerbox and have a librarian start building a marble run or work on a Lego robotics kit. Kids, teens and even adults would see what’s happening and become interested and it would be an opportunity for them to try things out without having to stay for the duration of a program. Another idea is to set out a crafting makerbox with yarn, knitting needles, and a crochet hook. As people pass by they can contribute to an ongoing project that is set out for a week or so.

I love the idea of encouraging creativity and interaction that doesn’t have the boundaries of time or a set of expectations to go along with it. I can’t wait to get something started in my library. I think that, though it was stressful, having PLA and the Arts Gala back to back has really inspired me and renewed my passion for my job.

If only my office at work wasn’t a pigsty.

#LibrarianOverload

PLA today! It was just as golden and glittery and electric as I knew it would be. Of course the best start possible was courtesy of OverDrive, my favorite library vendor. The people at OverDrive know how to party and the company has the most upbeat, friendly, and helpful staff. Steve Potash must be amazing to work for. The combination of PLA, the OverDrive party, and being around some of my favorite coworkers and peers last night and today makes me excited about tomorrow and eager also for Digipalooza. Why’s it gotta be so far away?

The best program I went to today was on implementing maker spaces in the library. My friend/coworker Courtney and I have been interested in this for awhile now and this program, presented by a few Illinois librarians, gave me tons of ideas. These libraries essentially used boxes and filled them with maker stuff to fit a theme. For example, a music themed maker box would have a variety of tools for people to create music; a STEM themed maker box would have all kinda of things to promote science, technology, engineering, and math learning (build-your-own cardboard marble run!). I love this idea because it would allow us to start small and then go bigger. We could swap things in and out of the different boxes to keep them fresh, and offer both scheduled and impromptu programs. I can picture is setting up a science-themed maker box on the sidewalk outside the building during this summer to also promote summer reading. The possibilities! So exciting. I’m stoked about this.

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The exhibit hall was so overwhelming I didn’t make it through the whole thing. But I met Laurie Halse Anderson and she signed a copy of speak for me! Tons of freebies, as usual.

The hardest part of the day was being away from the boys. I spent the night downtown so I could go all out at the OverDrive party (and, um, after) so I didn’t see them all night or day. Not a huge deal but hangover emotions are always more intense.

Tomorrow I’m attending the John Green lunch! Will report back soon. I can’t wait until tomorrow. I’m tired. PLA is phenomenal but I’m dealing with an abundance of librarians. I’m going to bed now.

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