We have incredible things happening in our Wisconsin libraries. Join our Facebook group — WI Library Makerspaces — and connect with other creative librarians here in our lovely state!
Library Makers Book Club!
First of all, if you’re not already on the Library Makers Facebook group — join now! It’s a great group!
I have been reading this book and am excited to join in the book discussion and chat with the author. What a wonderful idea! Register here.
Hour of Code
Here’s an easy, no-cost program for your library: Hour of Code!
Grab some laptops or tablets and set up this fun STEM program! Have your kiddos join millions of students around the world celebrating Computer Science Education Week (December 5-11) with the Hour of Code. Registration for the annual celebration starts each year in October.
It’s easy to sign up, and the website has plenty of resources to get you started. I’ll be using CodeMonkey to create a simple video game with block coding.
Tech Take-Apart at the Library
I’m planning on doing a Tech Take-Apart program and have found some great resources!
In the Youth Makerspace Playbook that I posted about before, head down to Appendix B on page 68 for tips on taking apart electronics, safe practices for e-waste disassembly, and a list of tools that are helpful to have on hand. There’s also a list of what is safe to take apart and what is not safe! For example, do not use Laser printers (carcinogenic toner), Copy machines (toner), Microwaves (radioactive component), Cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs (deadly capacitor potential), Paper shredders (many sharp blades), or Fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs.
So how do you get the electronics? Ask your fellow staff members, search the storage areas of the library, talk to your IT person, find out if there is an e-recycling program near you that would donate some items to the library! Our library is a city department, and we ask the other departments for donations. In addition, ask your patrons!
Additional reading on how to make this program successful:
Have you done this at your library or Makerspace? Drop your tips and resources in the comments!
Youth Makerspace Playbook by Maker Ed
Click here to access a stellar document about Makerspaces — the Youth Makerspace Playbook by MakerEd!
Whether you are in the planning stages or have been running your space for years — you’ll find something useful here. One of my favorite things in this document is Appendix D, which speaks about language use. It is so important to be intentional with the language you are using with your makers. For example, we might have a young person who isn’t sure how to start or wants specific examples, instructions, etc. We might say something like, “I hear that you’re having a hard time getting started and would prefer an example. I do have some if you’d like, but how about waiting a bit and seeing what others are trying out? Perhaps something will inspire you. Try just messing around first, just playing and having fun. I’ll check back with you in a bit to see how you’re feeling.” I love that!
ALA Core Maker Technology Interest Group
If you are a member of the American Library Association, check out the Core Maker Technology Interest Group!
There are a lot of great discussions and networking opportunities here. I’d love to see this group grow and be more active!
Send your Name into Space!
The folks at NASA always have something cool going on. Right now anyone can sign up to send their name for a flight around the moon. I signed up the library and am going to post this on our social media to promote an upcoming NASA program. There are so many different ways you could incorporate this into your library programming! Perhaps even set up a station after school to help kids enter their names and create their boarding passes!
The names will be included on a flash drive that will fly aboard Artemis I.
Artemis I will be the first uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. The flight paves the way toward landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon! Click here for more information!
Brown Dog Gadgets
I was happy to find out about this great vendor for Makerspace products, Brown Dog Gadgets! They offer a variety of goodies, including bristlebot kits, maker tape, crazy circuits, conductive sewing, LED name badges, paper circuits, solar, and more.
But here’s the best part — you can request a sample!
FREE 5-Week Webinar Series: Developing and Sustaining a Community-Centered Makerspace
Makers in the Library is offering a free 5-week series of webinars for developing and sustaining your Makerspace! April 6 – May 4, 2022. Register here.
From the Makers in the Library Website:
Webinar 1: Listen and Discover: Connect with Community
We begin our journey focused on the people in your library and community, spending time understanding their talents, interests, and resources. Relationships take time to develop, so it’s best to start here to lay the foundation. This asset-based approach allows the process to grow naturally, rooted in community needs and library capacity.
Webinar 2: Brainstorm & Prototype: Out of the Box Thinking and Testing Ideas
This part of the process should stretch your imaginations and generate a wealth of ideas for different ways to build a program in response to earning from the community. Then give a few of the ideas a practical test to see how it goes in real life.
Webinar 3: Implementation: The Nitty Gritty of Planning and Preparing Creative Maker Experiences
To help you think through all of the steps needed to make your makerspace happen, we’ve made this week longer-90 minutes-and divided this section into 2 parts: Prepare and Launch. Prepare starts with setting concrete goals and making a plan to achieve them, while keeping in mind your budget, the activities you want to offer, and the environment you want to create. Then, in Launch, we move into how to staff your space, along with the training and operational systems you need to have in place
Webinar 4: Reflect & Refine: Using Evaluation to Strengthen Programs
Our process empowers your maker program to be nimble, responsive, and striving for continuous improvement and growth. This involves developing systems and habits for documenting and reflecting on how the program is going, as well as refining the program to make it stronger. Reflection can be a daily practice for individuals, but program staff should also periodically reflect as a team too, perhaps monthly or even weekly until the program has become more established.
Webinar 5: Amplify & Grow: Marketing, Fundraising and Professional Growth
With your makerspace programming launched and in effect, the focus shifts to sustainability. Each and every one of you has a part to play in the sustainability of your makerspace—which inherently includes asking for donations (whether through fundraising or grant writing), building strong partnerships, and most importantly, marketing your makerspace through telling the stories of the impact your programming has had on the community.
I am so excited for these! Hope to see you there 🙂
Makerspaces: Top Trailblazing Projects, A LITA Guide
There are so many great books about Makerspaces published by the American Library Association. Many are available in my library system, which is great. I am trying really hard to only put one on hold at a time!
Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments!