Have you ever heard of makerspaces? Though the idea behind the word is not exactly new, it has become more and more mainstream. A makerspace can take many forms to suit its users’ needs but the basic concept consists of space where people are offered the opportunity to come share their skills and knowledge to tinker, experiment, and create things. It can mean computers with specialized programs used to record music or create movies. It can be a programming room where younger library users are introduced to scientific concepts through educational games and workshops. It can also mean any place where someone offers his/her expertise to teach various crafts and allow access to tools to let people make their own projects.
In the last few years, makerspaces have made their way into libraries nationwide as a tool to encourage lifelong learning with a fresh approach. Like many libraries nationwide, the Winnipeg Public Library is looking into offering a makerspace of its own in the near future. In the meantime, we offer books that can help inspire and help makers of all ages start their own maker projects, whatever the form.
Makerspaces and Hackerspaces: Makers as Innovators 21st Century Skills Innovation Library is a short and simple introduction to what a makerspace is about and who is a “maker,” gives examples of what can be done in them, and how to look for one in your community. The book also offers a list of online resources to jump-start your maker imagination.
For more ambitious readers, author and maker Adam Kemp created the book The Makerspace Workbench : Tools, Technologies, and Techniques for making for everyone interested in using a makerspace or to even create one for themselves and their community; whether in a garage, school or a library! The book covers the different tools needed and how to best use them along with instructions for fun projects to allow you to experiment and learn.
In Makerpsaces: Top Trailblazing Projects, Caitlin Bagley examines nine makerspaces in public, academic, and school libraries in the United States. She describes their design and technical decisions, the process that each took to determine what form it would take, and shows how each space is doing something unique and different, under a wide range of budgets and project offerings.
Idiot’s Guides: 3D Printing can be useful. In addition to providing instructions for fun projects, the guide also explains the different kinds of printers available and which to choose depending on what you want to use it for, troubleshooting tips for common problems with 3D printing.
Getting Started with Arduino is about learning to use an Arduino board: a platform that can be connected to sensors, lights, motors and other devices that interact with their environment to create electronic projects, like a motion-activated light for example. Through the book, you can learn about the basics of electricity and electronics and help readers to get up to speed with how Arduino works quickly so they can begin building projects.
A very popular maker item accessible to people of all ages interested in science and robotics are LEGO Mindstorm kits which allows the creation of programmable robots of all shapes and sizes without the need for soldering or wiring. Build and Program Your Own LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robots by Marziah Karch explains how to use regular LEGO blocks with “bricks” (programmable computers used for controlling the robots’ actions), sensors and motors. The book includes projects with step-by-step instructions to try, but the real fun comes from using this knowledge to make your own creations.
Also of interest, the database LyndaLibrary offers video courses on a multiple of topics including how to use software for 3D animation, film-making and music.
What would you like to do in a makerspace? What related books/resources would you like to have available at the library? Please share your ideas in the comment section. Your feedback will help determine how our own makerspace will shape up.