April 23, 2018

Rebecca Stavick | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Digital Developers

Rebecca Stavick

CURRENT POSITION

Executive Director, Do Space, Omaha

DEGREE

MLIS, San José State University, 2012

FOLLOW

@RebeccaStavick on Twitter; Do Space; Tech Omaha

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher

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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.

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