November 21, 2017

Lending a Green Thumb | Maker Movement

It wasn’t your average ribbon-cutting ceremony. In place of the traditional ribbon, a length of ivy. Instead of an oversized pair of golden scissors, pruning shears, hedge trimmers, and garden loppers. And on September 26, 2014 (Johnny Appleseed Day), with a quick snip of the shears, The Shed at Arlington Public Library’s (APL) Central Branch, VA, packed with tools for planting and digging, weeding and cutting, raking and watering, was open for business. The business of borrowing, that is.

3-D Printers | Product Spotlight

It isn’t surprising that 3-D printers are often mentioned in the same breath as library Maker spaces. “Additive manufacturing” technology is about 30 years old, but as it becomes more refined, as well as more affordable, its growing importance to engineering and prototyping appears to be inevitable, as well as its use in everything from medicine to haute cuisine. Meanwhile, during the past few years, dozens of small desktop units have become available, most priced out of reach for casual users but within the means of many libraries interested in offering their communities access to new technologies.

Rebekah Willett | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Community Builders

Through her research, teaching, and mentoring of grad students at the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M), Rebekah Willett works to narrow the gulf between the often enclosed academic arena and the outside world. “By offering students [opportunities] in ‘real world’ situations, I aim to connect their experiences to theories and ideas we’re covering in class,” deepening both, she says.

Adam Rogers | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Community Builders

Adam Rogers “is always working with an eye toward democratizing access to the latest technologies for our users,” says David Goldsmith, associate director for materials management at North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries. One of the ways Rogers does this is through his leadership of the Hunt Library Maker space, which features 3-D printing, scanning, and laser cutting; electronics prototyping kits; and workshops to acquaint potential users with these tools.

Sharona Ginsberg | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Community Builders

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.

Maker Jawn Initiative at Free Library of Philadelphia to Expand to Adults with IMLS Grant

In a move that will help the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) expand Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM)-based Maker space programming to multi-generational audiences, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on October 23 awarded a $500,000 National Leadership Grant to FLP in support of the library’s Maker Jawn initiative.

Westport Maker Space Expands with Robots, SolidWorks Courses, and Volunteer Training

The Westport Library’s ongoing efforts to support its Maker Space, including Maker in Residence programs and the recent acquisition of two programmable robots, have helped establish a virtuous cycle in which residents have begun working on their own projects and helping one another independently.