June 18, 2018

Rebecca Stavick | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Digital Developers

Rebecca Stavick


Executive Director, Do Space, Omaha


MLIS, San José State University, 2012


@RebeccaStavick on Twitter; Do Space; Tech Omaha

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher


Tech Hub Creator

In 2015, after five years with the Omaha Public Library (OPL), Rebecca Stavick launched Do Space, a blend of community technology library, digital workshop, and “innovation playground” being touted as the first technology library in the United States.

Located in a former Borders bookstore in Omaha, Do Space is fully loaded: Mac and PC desktop computers, loanable tablets and laptops, 3-D printers, CAD software, Adobe Creative Suite, and more. Accessible to people of different ages and abilities, casual users and budding entrepreneurs alike, Do Space is an independent nonprofit, and issues its own membership cards free of charge to anyone who walks in the door. More than 50,000 people have done so in the past two years. (Do Space is not affiliated with the Omaha Public Library.)

As the executive director with a staff of 22, Stavick is responsible “for all things Do Space: operations, staff, culture, and our future,” she says. Her job “is to keep it continually interesting and beneficial to our community.”

Even before Do Space opened, Stavick knew she wanted to establish a fellowship for talented Omahans to use the library’s tools and resources. The Do Space Innovation Fellowship launched in spring 2017 with three Fellows: each received $10,000 to generate innovative projects in software, 3-D printing, or robotics over the course of eight weeks.

“It was very important to us that we focused this program on local teachers and educators, because we knew that they would carry on what they learned in their classrooms,” Stavick says.

Math teacher Charlie Cuddy developed an online platform to help people learn to code with Bricklayer, while science teacher Derek Babb created an online resource for teachers focused on cybersecurity. And Kylie Gumpert, a growth engineer at the nonprofit DIBS for Kids, created BookZeal.org, which connects donors with teachers and libraries in need of books.

Stavick is also cofounder of the open data advocacy group Open Nebraska and founder of Project 18, inspired by Omaha’s 2017 ranking as the 18th best U.S. city for women in tech. She aims “to establish Omaha as the most women-friendly tech community in the nation.”

“Rebecca understands the critical importance of individuals having access to technology so that they can further their education [and] workforce skills and fully participate in the knowledge economy,” says Susan Benton, president/CEO of the Urban Libraries Council. (Stavick sits on its executive board.) “She sees opportunities and strategically moves forward to the benefit of Omaha and its citizens.

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Building Literacy-Rich Communities
Hosted by Library Journal and School Library Journal, Stronger Together is a national gathering of thought leaders and innovators from across the country who will share where and how partnerships between school districts and public libraries are having success. Join us May 10–12 at the University of Nebraska Omaha, as we explore the impact these collaborations are having on the institutions, communities, and kids they serve.
Maker Workshop
In this two-week online course, you’ll create a maker program that aligns with your budget and community needs, with personal coaching from maker experts—from libraries and beyond—May 23 & June 6, 2018.
Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind