Makerspaces and Librarians - Education
To date, makerspaces are still considered a fairly new environment. In “Educating Libraries about Makerspaces,” (2015) Corrine Luthy writes about the growing interest in implementing makerspaces in libraries, stating that there is lots of energy and enthusiasm around this new learning environment, but relies on librarians to implement plans and teach themselves related skills. The article describes a grant sponsored program run by two librarians, a curriculum coordinator, and a graduate student at the University of North-Carolina-Greensboro’s University Libraries. The group involved was charged with finding ways to assist practicing and future librarians in accessing the resources needed to understand, start, and manage makerspaces and maker-related technology, specifically in academic libraries. They took three approaches in order to achieve this:
In-person training: Curriculum was developed and delivered in the form of workshops in four different cities in North Carolina. Participants were given a brief overview of makerspace technology and trends, 3D printing, circuitry, and free software and applications. Hands on activities were used whenever possible to expose attendees to processes. In addition to these workshops, additional workshops were held on research discipline specific makerspace technologies, specifically for faculty members and students. Feedback from in-person training helped to direct what further workshops needed to be developed.
Online workshops, including an online toolkit: The online workshops looked at 3d printing and circuitry initially. Each workshop was 30 minutes or less, in order to remain engaging. The workshops were made available through the library website, and were one component of the IT toolkit. Additionally, blogs, websites, and magazines about makerspaces; links to free tools and applications for 3D printing, circuitry, and more, were included in the online toolkit, made available through the library website. Please see links below for online toolkit and recorded tutorials.
A day-long conference: The group working with the grant organized a day long conference (one of the first of its kind). Conference presenters came from all types of libraries—academic, public, and school—and talked about overcoming challenges such as budgeting, space restrictions, and maker education.
University of North Carolina Greensboro - Makerspace Libguide (Online Toolkit)
University of North Carolina Greensboro - Makerspace Online Tutorials
Recommendations for librarian and library student education around makerspaces
For those planning curriculum for librarians around makerspaces, the author recommends that instructors:
Provide practical examples of projects or technologies that can be used at the institution
Never underestimate the power of a demonstration or hands-on activity.
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