Libraries were always seen as a warehouse for information, filled with books, magazines, and videos. Recently however libraries across the country have started to incorporate maker spaces and provide maker classes for their patrons. Some say that this is part of the library’s natural evolution. Does it make sense for libraries to start offering maker classes? As someone who frequents the library, I believe so!
I used to visit the library with the sole purpose of using it as a maker space. During middle school, I would head to the library with a few of my classmates to create physical projects like environment dioramas or the skeletal structure of the human hand. As inner city kids, the library was a great space to work on these maker type of school project since we didn’t have much room to do it at home. The library not only provided the necessary space, but also access to information that would help us school kids create a rain forest diorama or a skeletal human hand.
So to me it makes perfect sense for libraries to incorporate make spaces. Libraries are not only a place to find information, it is also a place to learn with your peers and even through classes. Currently, they already host classes for learning English, creating a resume, or how to use a computer. Why not have some classes where kids can learn to create projects with new technology? Speaking of technology…
What tools can be used for a maker space?
Every maker space needs some cool tools and technology that students can use to create cool projects. Here are just a few gadgets that would make a great addition to any maker space arsenal:
You can’t talk about maker spaces without at least mentioning 3D printers. These printers are able to take digital 3D designs and create the objects in real life. The digital designs are created through 3D modeling programs, like Tinkercad. There are also repositories of digital 3D designs that are available for anyone to use like Thingiverse. A popular 3D printer that would be worth checking out is MakerBot.
Little bits are little electrical circuit modules that magnetically snap together. This makes it easy to experiment with different parts without damaging any of the circuit parts. Also, each circuit part is color coded so kids will have an idea of each part’s function. Little bits are a great way to introduce to building electrical circuits to kids and challenge them to create fully functional devices. Check out their library of Little bits lessons.
Video Recording Studio
The video studio setup pictured is from the Cincinnati Public Library. This setup allows patrons to create videos using a green screen and a video camera. Kids can learn how videos are created, the editing process, and how to use a green screen. It’s a great way for kids to be creative and learn how to use video technology and software.
I’ve talked about Bare Conductive before and I believe it would make a great addition to any maker space. The site includes a few project ideas to help libraries get started. Its online shop comes with conductive paint and several maker kits for various projects like flash cards and glowing houses.
Raspberry Pi is a credit-card size computer that can be plugged into a monitor and can be used with a mouse and keyboard like a normal computer. The huge benefit of using Raspberry Pi is that it is a low-cost computer ($25) which is great for any maker space on a budget. There are also many resources online for lessons or project ideas that focus on creating devices with Raspberry Pi. Some of these projects include creating a robo butler, a spinning flower wheel, and even a fart detector.
These are just a few tools that libraries can use in their maker spaces. What maker space tools does you library have? Comment below and share with the rest of the class!
Until next time, keep learning everyone