Making Sense: Can Makerspaces Work in Academic Libraries?
Makerspaces are a growing service area for many libraries in school, public, and academic settings. Participants, or makers, can create digital and physical items in common working spaces using shared equipment and resources. The essential makerspace elements of makers, tools, space, and shared expertise are also often joined by a spirit of individual exploration and discovery through creative activities. One area of balance in makerspaces is in providing group training on specific creative activities while also offering open lab times in the makerspace for individuals to work independently or in small collaborative groups on their projects. This is particularly acute in the academic environment, where lab spaces (whether for computers, biology, chemistry, engineering, or nursing) are often imagined for use by classes of students working on an assignment or project. Can an open, self-directed approach work in an environment where much learning is encapsulated in semester-long courses and student learning is assessed by assignments with relatively rigid timelines and criteria? The alternative, maker-focused mindset would allow for tinkering and play to be utilized by makers as they create and learn. Makerspaces can be a mechanism for encouraging students to experiment and learn beyond the classroom and outside of the normal structure of their assignments. Students are encouraged to examine new means of creation and in doing so they strengthen and apply more broadly the learning they experience in their courses. The following paper presents a positive case for pursuing an academic library makerspace and helpful steps to pursue.
The following license files are associated with this item: