This is the third of several blog entries in which I share my take-aways from ALA’s The Makerspace Librarian’s Sourcebook. I’ve skipped over Chapter 4, which covers Safety and Guidelines in the Library Makerspace. That chapter includes some suggestions worthy of consideration.

About the Makerspace Technology

Some of the major parts of the book, listed below, focus on a variety technologies that may find their way into makerspaces. Having read the chapters skipped, I must admit that these serve as a cursory introduction to the technologies. Certainly, anyone who undertakes Raspberry Pi and Arduino will need some more support. Your level of technical expertise will be tested and I’ve indicated which of the following activities should not be undertaken without district level technical support.

Find out more

Some technologies will require more extensive training. Given a tiered approach to makerspaces, you may want to stagger these so that learners will have a chance to move forward slowly through the various steps, allowing time for practice and reflection.

  • Chapter 5 (3D Printing)* 
  • Chapter 6 (Raspberry Pi)*
  • Chapter 7 (Arduino)*
  • Chapter 8 (LilyPad, Adafruit, Wearable Electronics)
  • Chapter 9 (Google Cardboard for Librarians)
  • Chapter 10 (Legos in the Library)
  • Chapter 11 (littleBits, Makey Makey, Chibitronics)
  • Chapter 12 (Computer Numerical Control in the Library with Cutting and Milling Machines)
  • Chapter 13 (Robotics in Libraries)
  • Chapter 14 (Drones in the Library)
  • Chapter 15 (Library Hackerspace Programs (includes Minecraft, )

While I cannot claim to be an expert in any of these areas (and who would?), each of these technologies provide learners with opportunities to diverse experiences.  Again, each of these chapters serves as a primer and will require deeper study. These chapters would be helped by some curated list of resources online, however, Chapter 17 provides an extensive list of social media hashtags, Facebook pages, Twitter lists, blogs & websites, listservs and mailing lists.

What we, as design thinkers, have is this creative confidence that, when given a difficult problem, we have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before,” IDEO founder David Kelley as cited in Chapter 18.

My Notes – Chapter 16

  1. This chapter focuses on mobile makerspaces and was authored by Kim Martin, Mary Compton, and Ryan Hunt.
  2. A mobile makerspace is a miniature makerspace that’s built into a vehicle, usually the back of a truck or a revamped bus.
  3. Some reasons to go mobile are mentioned:
    1. People are fascinated with mobility
    2. You have a small library
    3. Your library caters to a large population of a scattered area
  4. Steps to go mobile:
    1. Gather a core team
    2. Engage your community
    3. Be financially prepared
  5. Mobile Lab examples
    1. FryskLab
    2. SparkTruck
    3. MakerMobile
    4. The MakerBus
    5. Arts & Scraps

Reflections on the Book

Library makerspaces continue to thrive, drawing new patrons in and engaging them as never before. This hands-on sourcebook edited by technology expert Kroski includes everything libraries need to know about the major topics, tools, and technologies relevant to makerspaces today. Packed with cutting edge instruction and advice from the field’s most tech-savvy innovators, this collection

  • leads librarians through how to start their own makerspace from the ground up, covering strategic planning, funding sources, starter equipment lists, space design, and safety guidelines;
  • discusses the transformative teaching and learning opportunities that makerspaces offer, with tips on how to empower and encourage a diverse maker culture within the library;
  • delves into 11 of the most essential technologies and tools most commonly found in makerspaces, ranging from 3D printers, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and wearable electronics to CNC, Legos, drones, and circuitry kits; and
  • includes an assortment of project ideas that are ready to implement.

As useful for those just entering the “what if” stage as it is for those with makerspaces already up and running, this book will help libraries engage the community in their makerspaces. (Source)

What I like best about this book is Chapter 2, which addresses the pedagogy and instructional approaches that best fit with makerspaces. The chapters focused on various technologies are worth reading as primers, but what is missing is paper approaches. For example, consider these technologies mentioned that merit further review:
  • Cardboard
  • Textiles
  • Beading
  • Repurposing existing materials
The question is, Would you buy an $85 book on setting up makerspaces in libraries? That depends, really, on whether you know anything about the topics raised above. Throughout the book, I kept hoping for projects or project recipe cards.
Still, you may find this text of help.
Some additional resources I’ve been curating:

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure