A Maker Space, Unplugged
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
Becky Reilly heads up Library Services at McAuley High School with
paper and scissors in hand. McAuley is an all-girls, Catholic high
school on the west side of Cincinnati. They have plenty of technology at
the school–every student has a tablet, for a start. When she wanted to
open a make space in the library, though, she looked at the students
instead of Make Magazine.
all-girl school, a lot is communicated through notes and letters, so
something as simple as card-making gives the students an opportunity to
play, tinker and express themselves artistically."
was initially stocked by recycling, re-using and re-purposing materials
students and staff had accumulated in their homes. From time to time, I
pick up seasonal stamps, paper and stickers to supplement our standard
card and paper stock, scissors, punches and assorted sparkles and
doodads, but the station seems to replenish itself as students continue
to supply leftover materials from projects created outside the library
There’s technology available for this work,
too. With available computers, scanners and printers, students can mix
in their own photos or other components. So it’s not that tech is
barred. It’s just not required, not necessary to what they’re doing.
of the great things about this is that students understand the purpose
of the space and how to use it without an instructional session. Getting
them started isn’t a miniature form of an investor’s pitch meeting or a
STEM cheerleading session. They get it.
Looking ahead, Becky sees
an opening to bring in more tech, perhaps of the 3D-printer type. What
she’s built now is an engaged community of makers, and that’s a
fantastic place to start.
Making news with maker
spaces - November 13th
It’s easy for conversations about maker
spaces to turn into discussions of what tech you ought to buy. How much
money you’d need, how much space you’d need to set aside. Maker spaces
come in lots of shapes and sizes, and they’re already here in southwest
SWON’s Fall Luncheon is a
great chance to hear from those makers. And you can talk to other
librarians and hear what they and their patrons are doing, whether they
call it a maker space or not.
Maker spaces aren’t out of reach.
Learn how close at hand they are when we meet in Hamilton in November. Sign up