We here at MakerBridge are delighted that our founder and editor, Sharona Ginsberg, has been named a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal for her work with the MakerBridge community. From her LJ profile:
Sharona Ginsberg was still in graduate school in January 2013 when she read about the lack of places for librarians to exchange information about their experiences with the Maker movement. A month later, she launched the MakerBridge Project, a website and blog that offers librarians and educators information, tools, and best practices by tapping into Makers’ willingness to share methods, tips, and curricula with one another. It helps guide librarians who aren’t Makers themselves but want to bring Making to their library. “It’s essential for librarians to have support and resources to tackle this and to benefit from the work and learning others have already done,” Ginsberg says.
Ginsberg also noticed that Makers in the media are overwhelmingly white, middle-class males. She responded by making diversity central to MakerBridge’s mission and featuring Makers who are people of color, female, or LGBTQ. It is important for the Maker movement to welcome and include multiple viewpoints because Making is about empowerment, she says, about having “the skills and the knowledge to be less dependent on others” …
What should librarians be doing to prepare for the future?
Above all, librarians should stay open-minded and patron-driven. Technology tools are nice, but technology changes quickly, as will the services that rely on it. It’s less important to be a whiz at any specific tool or system, and more important to be comfortable tackling new challenges and to embrace a mindset wherein innovation and experimentation is positive and encouraged. One of the central tenets of the maker movement is that failure is not devastating, but is simply a part of successful iteration. You don’t have to be an expert to explore something new and see where it can take you.
Something important I have learned in working on MakerBridge, my online library/school maker community, is to pay close attention to the needs of the community itself. As I’ve studied how people interact with us and our content, I’ve learned not to force people toward features of our website they simply aren’t interested in, but instead to adapt to what they clearly do care about. Libraries should work the same way; communities are all varied and different, so it’s essential to keep in tune with the interests and desires of yours.
Why is that important?
No matter what cool new trends or tools the library adopts, it will not be relevant if it does not address the needs and interests of its user base. Patrons need to be the focus and driving factor behind library services.
Congratulations, Sharona, from all of us at MakerBridge!