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ala Check it out: Libraries Embracing Makerspaces

Mark Fraunfelder addresses a standing room-only crowd the American Library Association’s “Maker Monday” event today in Chicago.

The American Library Association (ALA) is wrapping up its annual conference in Chicago tomorrow. Today was “Maker Monday,” a day that showcased the growing intersection of libraries and the maker movement.

sponbots Check it out: Libraries Embracing Makerspaces

Librarians at the ALA conference give SpinBots donated by MAKE a spin.

Makerspaces have been called libraries of the 21 century. So where does that leave the traditional library? Libraries will always be a place for books, but American libraries are evolving to incorporate making into their offerings as well by adding space for the tools of making like 3D printers, CNC machines, and laser cutters.

Mark Frauenfelder, MAKE’s editor-in-chief, delivered a presentation today on the new technologies driving the maker movement and where libraries fit in. Interest in his talk was so great organizers had to find a bigger room. Even then it was standing room only.

MAKE has been working with libraries to provide them with projects and materials as well as our makerspace playbook, a handbook for setting up and running a makerspace. Next week we’re launching our second annual Maker Camp on Google+ and we’re working with libraries to serve as affiliates or hosts for groups of young makers during the six-week virtual summer camp for teens.

Maker Monday also featured a “maker showcase” of organizations, vendors, and products aimed at helping libraries incorporate making into their services to the public.

If your public library isn’t hip to the maker movement encourage them to check it out! Maybe you can help bring making into your community. Our makerspace playbook is a good place to start. If you have questions please contact [email protected].

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.


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