Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to Get {Maker}Spaces Started in Your Library

We dove head first into makerspaces this year in our elementary school library.  It's been slow to start but we are finally getting into the groove of successful makerspaces.
Here's how we did it:

1.  Assess your patrons.

  • How old are your patrons? Make sure your spaces are appropriate for their age.  For example, younger children should not have scissors if the spaces are not closely supervised.  Also, make sure your spaces are of interest to your age group.  
  • How much time will they be able to spend in the spaces? If patrons only have 10 min. increments, for example, make sure your spaces can be done in that time frame.

2.  Assess your space.

  • Do you need it to remain quiet? (Maybe classes are taking place at the same time or students are researching) If so, be sure to pick spaces that don't cause too much commotion.
  • What is the space that is allotted? Is it a study carol, open floor space, cart or tables?  Plan your makerspaces to fit in the space you have.

3.  Assess your resources.

  • Do you have a budget available? If not, look for free or hand me down supplies.
  • Our budget is next to nothing so the more we can find supplies that we can find at home or school the better.
4.  Assess your time.
  • How often will you change your spaces? We change about once a month.  You can determine what the frequency will be by how often your patrons will visit the spaces.  You can also determine this by your availability-do you have the time and resources to change them more frequently?
5.  Assess your makerspace activities.
  • When choosing what activities your makerspaces will consist of, there are no rules, except that they should be about making, creating, building, producing, generating, constructing, designing, fabricating, forming, and shaping.  Can you describe the activity using one of these verbs? If not, it may not be makerspace material.
The bottom line is just do it!  There are no makerspace police.  We've tried some makerspaces that we will not repeat and that's o.k! Here are some of the makers that we've done so far: