Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Learn About Makerspaces from the Innovators at Westport (CT) Public Library

Learn About Makerspaces from the Innovators at Westport Public Library

Presented by
Maxine Bleiweis Library Director and Bill Derry Assistant Director for Innovation & User Experience

Key phrases

Collection development --> connection development
Information age --> imagination age
Democratizing production
Recouping people space from stack space

Preparing for a makerspace

Need a receptive community; staff have to own the change
Included ‘making things’ in some staff meetings – a chance to see each other’s     talents
Added a PLAY section to monthly library reports
Hosted a Mini Maker Faire at the library
Committee of community members planned – recommend 6 months to a year to plan
Acquired a license and Mini Maker Faire Playbook from Make (owners of the Maker Faire brand)
Had all of the staff attend and 50 volunteers
Speakers, gaming, pottery inside; large tent outside, electrical power, robotics & more
2200 attendees --> tipping point that made building a makerspace possible

The Maker Space

Located right in the middle of their library space and designed to be easy to look inside
and watch makers at work
The library invited an architect/engineer to be a maker-in-residence
Joseph Schott designed an installation for the library – an airplane that will eventually hang from the ceiling
Received donations from companies/community
Staff held a press conference and ribbon-cutting at the library
Patrons using the space have to be open to answering questions from other community
members, contributing to the collaborative atmosphere
Space has been used by all ages – ‘8 to 80’
Includes building blocks and other toys for kids
Committee of community members trains volunteers for the space – they also have a
private blog to explore ideas together
Anyone can apply to be a maker online
Participatory learning: one example they gave was when a young student learned about ratios by working with the maker-in-residence on the airplane project. He had originally just planned to study the concept with a family member.
Cost is low overall
Maker-in-residence has a stipend
Many donations, including their $2,000 3D printer. Mentioned the specific cost of plastic for the 3D printer: $35-50 for a roll that lasts a long time

Related resources

A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change
by Douglas Thomas & John Seely Brown
Learning Everywhere: How Mobile Content Strategies are Transforming Training
    by Chad Udell
Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture – A partnership project of the
Salzburg Global Seminar and the Institute of Museum and Library Services
Library Journal article on the Maker Space
TED talk by publisher Dale Dougherty
Hosting a Mini Maker Faire

View the presentation or slides

--- Leslie @Sun Ray

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