MakerBridge Coordinator; Instructional Technology Consultant, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
MS, Information, University of Michigan School of Information, Ann Arbor, 2013
Photo by Breanna Hamm
Sharona Ginsberg was still in graduate school in January 2013 when she read about the lack of places for librarians to exchange information about their experiences with the Maker movement. A month later, she launched the MakerBridge Project, a website and blog that offers librarians and educators information, tools, and best practices by tapping into Makers’ willingness to share methods, tips, and curricula with one another. It helps guide librarians who aren’t Makers themselves but want to bring Making to their library. “It’s essential for librarians to have support and resources to tackle this and to benefit from the work and learning others have already done,” Ginsberg says.
Ginsberg also noticed that Makers in the media are overwhelmingly white, middle-class males. She responded by making diversity central to MakerBridge’s mission and featuring Makers who are people of color, female, or LGBTQ. It is important for the Maker movement to welcome and include multiple viewpoints because Making is about empowerment, she says, about having “the skills and the knowledge to be less dependent on others.”
The number of visits each month to the website has more than doubled in the first year (e.g., December 2014 saw 646 visits; December 2013, 317 visits), and since May 2013, MakerBridge’s Twitter followers have grown to almost 1,800, Ginsberg says.
Next up? Ginsberg plans to expand MakerBridge into a host for local community hubs. “I [want] to give people the ability to gather local resources, contacts, event information, and [more] in a space that can be oriented toward a specific city or region,” she says.