Today, we continue our special week in which we take turns sharing our definition of a makerspace.
If you’ve been following the MakerBridge blog this week, you know that Sharona and Kristin have already laid down their own definitions of makerspaces, emphasizing community, shared resources, and space. I’m on board with everything they’ve said so far. That said, I want to highlight the fact that in my mind a sense of community and shared resources are the most important parts of a makerspace. Without those, you might have a maker, or you might have a tools library, but you don’t have a makerspace.
This is not to discount the importance of having an actual location for a makerspace. You do need a location. Just because a makerspace needs to be a space, though, it doesn’t follow that it needs to be a permanent space. I love projects like Eden Rassette’s pop-up makerspace kit, which is full of craft supplies.Teen Librarian Toolbox’s pop-up makerspace with Legos, duct tape, and Raspberry Pis makes me happy, too. These are basically just boxes of tools and supplies. On their own they’re not makerspaces. When you put them somewhere, open them up, and add a gaggle of users sharing ideas and helping each other out–that is definitely a makerspace!
On a larger and more expensive scale, Maker Shed sells portable cabinets full of tools, and even companies like Google are getting behind the idea of pop-up makerspaces. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, I think you could make a pretty strong case for a coffee shop or bar being a makerspace during those wonderful hours when knitting and crocheting circles meet there, with everyone sharing patterns, advice, hooks, and needles.
A makerspace is anywhere makers get together and share resources. It doesn’t matter if that’s a classroom, a coffee shop, someone’s backyard, or a massive space dedicated full-time to maker activities.