Librarians Flock to Maker Monday

January 29, 2013

“All of us are makers,” said Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE magazine, to a capacity Midwinter crowd at “The New Stacks: The Maker Movement Comes to Libraries” on Monday. “It’s in all of us. Librarians are makers of spaces, keepers of resources shared by many, makers of a culture of learning.”

Along with Travis Good, a former engineer and freelance writer for MAKE, Dougherty described the enthusiasm for Maker Faires, where makers show off the fun and wildly creative things they make to enthusiastic and growing crowds. Like market days of old, Maker Faires are “still about that impulse of meeting people,” said Dougherty.

Good talked about a cross-country trip he took, visiting library maker spaces along the way. He found there were different needs and stages of readiness, but noted that most libraries could begin with small, one-off activities and build into ongoing meetings, lending temporary tool kits, or offering a “clean lab” space for makers. Some of the maker tools available today were once very expensive and simply weren’t available to the general public, Good said, pointing to his article in the January/February American Libraries that outlines the various models that he saw libraries employing.

Good encouraged the crowd to partner with others to find effective kits to check out and look to the MAKE project portal or Instructables portal for ideas, and perhaps create their own library portal where librarians could rate tools, kits, and projects; share best practices; and aid in finding funding.

“Getting makers in libraries is so important to me,” said Good.