What exactly is a makerspace? In the most simplest sense, it is an event (think library program) where people come together to design, build, imagine, create and/or invent. Your lego program for children? Makerspace. That teen group where you make duct tape jewelery? Makerspace. Adult knitting program? Even that's a makerspace.
You may also see makerspaces referred to as hackerspaces or Fab Labs, however those tend to lean more towards using more technology/digital media. Especially if you want to go down the hackerspace road.
So, if you're already doing it, why is this relevant?
We are increasingly becoming a DIY society, and, as with anything else, it's important to keep up with trends. I say "trend" in not the sense that slouch socks and neon clothes in the 1980s were trendy, but more in the sense of adapting to what people want. If it is something that people want and enjoy, can your library meet that need? If so, market it: Are libraries still relevant? You bet. Come down and join one of our many makerspaces groups. Don't know what a makerspace is? Let us teach you.
Thinking of a program as a makerspace can also give you a bit of direction in planning. Key concepts for true a true makerspace include: innovation (using the imagination to create something original), interaction and collaboration (coming together as a group and exchanging ideas), and discovery (learning something new).
Also to keep in mind, if you participate in the TD Summer Reading Club, the theme for 2014 has been announced as "Maker" - focusing on inventions, crafts and DIY.
Right now there are a lot resources available, particularly for libraries, to learn more about makerspaces and how to implement them. Here's a few to get you started:
- A Librarian's Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources
- Makerspace.com (the "Playbook" is a manual)
- What is a Makerspace? Creativity in the Library
- 7 Things you Should Know about Makerspaces
- Libraries and Makerspaces: A Match Made in Heaven
- Making the Case for a Public Library Makerspace
- Makerspaces in Public Libraries
- Presenting Makerspaces: Libraries are Truly More than Books
- Makerspaces, Participatory Learning and Libraries (The Unquiet Librarian)
- Maker Librarian
- From Stacks to Hacks: Makerspaces and LibraryBox