Low Tech, High Gains: Karyn Peterson on Starting a Makerspace
Karyn Peterson gives a great perspective on the maker space movement in this School Library Journal article. Librarians in a rush to jump into "Makerspaces" might want to take a breath and look at the activities that already take place in the library. Sure, we'd all love to have 3D printers and robotics, but for many school librarians, that's just not financially feasible.
So, what about some low tech activities that can easily be rebranded? Instead of an arts and crafts program after school, call it what it is--a makerspace! Karyn suggests having students scan family photos, write autobiographies, and start up a hyper-local genealogy program. Our local public library has an excellent genealogy program and I know the librarians there would be happy to come speak to students. This could also be a great evening program to get parents and grandparents involved. How about an oral history project where students can create podcasts of interviews with their grandparents?
When students create work in the library, Karyn notes that it should be displayed there, too. She mentions Lego building, but I'd love to see some recycled art projects on my shelves!
I think her article would be beneficial to librarians who are feeling a little anxious about makerspaces. Semantics aside, the library has always been a place of creativity, so if necessary, rename some programs and jump into the makerspace movement! The joy of it is that it's all based on creating and building, so it encompasses many things, not just STEM! Who knows, you make start with recycled art and in a few years, have those 3D printers you've been coveting!