Similar to your neighborhood tapas restaurant, the makerspace provides your library patrons with a smorgasbord of bite-sized bits of knowledge. Makerspaces allow your patrons to experience the technological products and services they may otherwise not have access to—and gives them a place to let their imagination and creativity run wild. Here are a few benefits of offering a makerspace in your library.
Exposure to New Opportunities
One key benefit of investing in a makerspace is the ability to try a selection of varied arts and technologies from around the world. Similar to ordering five to twenty different plates of tapas, your makerspace will give your library the opportunity to provide your patrons with small “tastes” of knowledge from a variety of different sectors.
Have rumors of patrons interested in robotics sparked ideas of bringing some basic engineering opportunities into your library’s makerspace? Unfortunately, your copy of Robot Building for Dummies may not quite cover it. Reach out to universities and build a relationship with experts in the fields you're interested in exploring in your makerspace. Many university professors will be more than eager to loan textbooks or old materials, connect you with places to buy resources or they may even volunteer their time to teach a class at your library. Who knows? You may soon find yourself face-to-face with a modern-day George Devol, creator of the first industrial robot.
Fosters Creativity in your Community
Tapas are meant for sharing, and your makerspace is no different. Once you have established what equipment and materials your makerspace will have, reach out to your community so they can get a piece of the pie (or, to stick with our theme tortilla de patatas)! There are many benefits linked to the makerspace, including extensive opportunities for your younger patrons to get involved. According to our friends at Edweek, children experience significant benefits by being exposed to the skills they can develop in the makerspace like “problem identification [and] refinement of creative ideas.”
Invite your local schools, daycares and other members in your community to an open house to experience the makerspace. One of the greatest benefits of the makerspace is that there’s no age requirement which allows a number of different community members to get involved. By offering classes to children and adults alike, your members will have the opportunity to be exposed to new technologies normally only available at larger libraries and academic institutions.
The makerspace is truly the one entree that keeps on giving for your library. If you’re looking for some inspiration to modernize your library, take a look what Library 21c is doing in our case study: What a Modern Library Looks Like Today.