This week, MakerBridge was featured in Publishers Weekly as part of their coverage of the American Library Association (ALA) 2014 conference, upcoming at the end of the month. Since makerspaces in libraries are on the rise and will be discussed at various sessions during the conference, Shannon Maughan (a librarian and Publishers Weekly contributor) was interested in finding out more about the place of maker culture in libraries.
The ALA Annual Conference will be in Las Vegas this year–are you attending?
We at MakerBridge are always excited to see librarians’ growing interest in the maker movement. If you’re just finding this site as a result of the Publishers Weekly article, I just want to say welcome! You may want to take a look at this blog post that answers some basic questions about the community.If you’re looking for ways to get involved, please follow us on Twitter and/or grab the RSS feed for our blog, which updates weekly.
Expanding on what I said in the article, I believe makerspaces and maker culture fit really well into libraries because libraries already exist as spaces of access, sharing, and learning. Although 3D printers tend to be the poster child for the maker movement, they aren’t required in order to have a makerspace; libraries can participate inexpensively and easily just by offering a place for creative, hands-on projects that stress collaboration and the DIY spirit.
Image Credit: Innovate @ Your Library – BCPL | BCPL Photo
Makerism isn’t technically new, as a whole and in libraries specifically. People have been using specialized skills to create and explore for a long time, and the library has always served patrons in their efforts to refine these skills. With the recent focus on STEM/STEAM development, however, and as a reaction to disposable consumerist culture, the maker movement has taken hold. As libraries continually look for ways to serve their communities and to correct the public perception of the library as a book warehouse, it makes sense to delve into makerspaces as a way of expanding–rather than replacing–the library’s existing functions.
Anyway, if you’re just joining us, we’re happy to have you! And if you’ve already been part of the MakerBridge community, we’re so glad you’re here. What do makerspaces mean to you? Why do you think it’s important for libraries to be involved with maker culture? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet them to us @makerbridge!