This week’s guest post is from Katy Hite of the team behind Make It @ Your Library, a new online resource launched to help librarians interested in the world of making. Read on to learn more about what Make It @ Your Library is and how you can get involved! Follow the link in the next paragraph to visit the site or connect with them on Twitter — @makeitlib.
Greetings, Makers! Can you believe 2013 is almost over? It has been a great year for makers, libraries, and making connections! For those of you who were able to attend the LITA Forum in November, you might have heard Make It @ Your Library mentioned in the keynote. I am here to explain the site a little more, and hopefully encourage readers to collaborate with us in the coming year.
What is Make It @ Your Library?
Make It @ Your Library was initially created as part of ILEAD USA. ILEAD (Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply, Discover) “was designed to help library staff understand and respond to user needs through the application of participatory technology tools.” This conference spanned nine months, and allowed teams to develop projects for specific communities. The team behind Make It @ Your Library focused on librarians interested in connecting to makerspace projects. You can read more about Make It @ Your Library’s team members (myself included) here. Travis Good presented a breakout session titled “Making Makerspace Libraries.” This led to further conversations about the need for connections between makers and libraries. Good has been following the library makerspace movement very closely, and he introduced us to the folks at Instructables. This site is a community of makers who document and contribute projects ranging from Laser Etched Notebooks to Origami Leaves. Make It @ Your Library connects librarians to these projects, using search criteria that would allow projects to be limited in terms of budget, space or age group.
Make It @ Your Library was created by web developers at LISHost, and the content has been curated by myself and the four other librarians on our team. We have been identifying projects from Instructables, and applying library-specific search criteria to those projects.
How Can You Contribute to Make It @ Your Library?
Now that Make It @ Your Library has been established, what it needs most is input from other librarians! Our goal is to be a resource that helps librarians not only find projects, but submit projects that they have used. As the maker movement grows, it is important that libraries and librarians share ideas, collaborate on projects, and keep our making as transparent as possible.
In order to submit a project that you have created in your library, the first step will be to join the Instructables community. You can get a free account here. Once your account has been established, you can upload your projects (step by step documentations and a list of necessary supplies included), and then submit the project to Make It @ Your Library. More about contributing can be found here.
In the spirit of collaboration and discussion, we also want to hear from you when you complete a Make It project! Our “Comments” section allows you to offer feedback on projects, letting other librarians know what worked, what tweaks could have been made, or final results of your project.
As we start a new year, we hope to continue making maker connections, and seeing makerspaces grow in libraries. Make It @ Your Library can help find projects that will work for you, in your space, no matter what your budget or space limitations. We will also be starting an interview series with librarians who have started makerspaces at their libraries; we want to help identify what it can take for you to start making with your patrons, in your spaces. Please keep an eye on our blog, and feel free to contact us with any questions!