LibraryLady
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Want to Start a Makerspace?

Frank Catalano gives some great tips here on planning your makerspace. Some things to consider: ~ Know your space (and yourself!) My library has three different ceiling heights. Placing the makerspace area where I originally wanted it would have led to unbearable noise levels at the circulation desk. Do students have access to a sink if they need to clean up after a project? Can you get extra trash/recycling bins? (The night custodians kept taking my extra recycling bin because every classroom only gets one.) ~ Be the facilitator, not the director. I provided lots of sample crafts to get kids started, but I was thrilled when they finally stopped asking for directions and just dove in. It really struck me how many kids didn't want to make mistakes, or needed step-by-step instruction before they felt comfortable. ~ Engage the experts! Two of my quietest and most shy girls turned out to be incredible at making pop-up cards and paper lamps from recycled books. It was great to see them become more confident as other students gathered around to watch them work. Likewise, if it's a tech-based project, get your geek squad kids busy. It's a great social opportunity for some students. ~ Start with what you have, then build and grow. We did mainly paper crafts, because I had tons of donated scrapbooking supplies and old books to use. I've been collecting a lot of different things this year and plan to ask parents for donations to expand our supplies. The students who participated last year were mainly 6th graders, so I'll be drafting them to come up with new ideas, too.
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I definitely would have loved a makerspace in my middle and high school libraries. The library wasn't somewhere I thought could be really fun, it was more of a place to get work done and read in peace. I hope more libraries adopt these!!
@caricakes, and at least you were a reader! Some kids in middle and high school see no reason to go in the library anymore. We need to rethink how we use that space so that more kids come through the door. If I get a kid in for makerspace, he might see a book on his way out that interests him. Sneaky, but effective:)
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