Makerspace and Digital Trends:
CJ Lynce is TechCentral Manager at Cleveland Public Library.
Uyen Tran is a librarian at San Diego Public Library.
Jenny Howland is Makery Facilitator at the Katherine Delmar Burke School.
Zeth Lietzau is manager of the Community Technology Center at Denver Public Library.
Libraries have always been a “gateway drug for making”, as Uyen Tran said, but now the making is happening on site at libraries all over the country. Making is messy and noisy, and things break, but that’s OK. With making, patrons go from attendees to volunteers to teachers. Patrons are clamoring for the laser engraver at Cleveland Public Library. A donation jar at the San Diego Idea Lab collects more money than their Friends group. The Denver Public Library is working on accrediting learners with their DPL-U, while their DPL-Fun track brings in patrons by the bushel and increased circulation. Girls at Katherine Delmar Burke School are developing a design thinking mindset by taking things apart.
Tips for making at the library:
- Make kits and leave them out for patrons to play with.
- K’nex are great for building and cheaper than Legos.
- Do making at outreach events as much as possible - it increases attendance.
- Patrons have to understand how the technology works - its not a “drop off” service.
- You don’t have have to have a dedicated space or a 3-D printer to do making.
- Involve your patrons -send a message to them if the equipment breaks down; they can help fix it.
- Reach out to partners for training certification - community makerspaces, colleges, software vendors.
- A makerspace should be flexible, with moveable furniture
- Staff need to move from being a sage on a stage to a guide on the side.
- Designing electronics with 123D Circuits
- Virtual jam session using GarageBand
- Making speakers out of sticky notes and old headphones
- Envelope and duct tape wallets
- Coding with Kidsruby
- Custom cookie cutters made with a 3-D printer
- 3-D paper craft
- Font making
- Pinhole camera
- Home brewing
- Making cars for Nerdy Derby - a no-rules miniature car racing competition
- Monster-making party - sew 2, give one to charity
- Wooden clothespin fascinator
Lync has a list of all of TechCentral’s equipment (including costs) here starting on page 9 and a list of web sites and other resources here.
Let's get virtual:
John Shoesmith is the Outreach Librarian at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
The Thomas Fisher library is open to general public and outreach is a cornerstone of their mission, so they wanted to recreate exhibitions virtually for people to see everywhere. Early efforts were too resource-intensive and required lots of assistance from IT. They wanted to put online curation in the hands of librarians.
The best software they found for the job was Omeka, open source software which is used by major institutions like the Smithsonian. Adding exhibitions to Omeka is an easy, one-button process. There are pre-installed themes, which can be customized if you know HTML and CSS. Photos of visual items were stored on Islandora, a digital asset management system which works well with Omeka.
Tech Wearables: The Next Frontier:
Barbara Fullerton is the owner of the research organization Librarian in the Cloud, Inc.
Tech wearables are projected to be a 20 billion market in the next few years. It’s more than Fitbit and health apps. We now have more devices in the US than people.
Issues with wearables:
- Could be addictive.
- Irritates the skin.
- Companies have access to more of your data.
- More ways to spam -will you get spam from your socks?
To help patrons with these issues, librarians should read the tech news, find out what companies are buying other companies, and who is getting patents. Libraries could also use these in fitness programs.
Wearables that are either here or coming to market soon:
- H2.0 Pal - makes any water bottle “smart” - reminds you to hydrate
- Camera in a pill ($46)- for colonoscopy?
- App that sculpts your muscles - measures them electronically
- Password wristband - could use for library card. Disney World has a wristband that pays for your food.
- PulseRelief - stimulates nerves to suppress pain
- Apple Watch - early 2015
- Headphones you can use to call or text.
- FiLip child tracker.
- Smart hair clip that calls 911 when you are in danger.
- Leapmotion allows you scan all parts of the book and slap it on a digital 3-D model. Patrons turn pages or zoom in with hand motions. Sound effects mimic a page turning. All that is required is a book, a projector and a computer. It’s a fun way for patrons to access rare, unique books that would otherwise be locked in special collections.
- Snannx is a fax, scan, and copying system that can send documents to mobile or email and convert a print document to an editable Word file with the touch of a button.
- Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 e-book platform now has e-audiobooks, and they are working on videos, which they say will include movies and television shows from major studios.
Things to think about from the closing keynote:
- What is the library’s unique value?
- How do we measure success?
- We have to be savvy in marketing ourselves.
- We can't do it alone.
- Hire for attitude, train for skill.
- Culture eats strategy for lunch.
- The digital divide may become greater - libraries can make a difference.
Presentations are available here.
--Andrea H. @Central