PLAN C LIVE: Re-Opening Makerspaces in Libraries

Maker News
PLAN C LIVE: Re-Opening Makerspaces in Libraries

As the process of re-opening offices and stores in local communities continues, libraries and library makerspaces are beginning to re-open as well. This week’s Plan C Live program looks at the challenges and strategies for libraries in reopening thier makerspaces to the public. We hear from libraries around the US on what the last 90 days have looked like for their institutions, what their plans for the summer look like, and the role these public institutions play and will continue to play as public resources that serve diverse multi-age communities.

Date: June 23 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET


YouTube player

Join host Dorothy Jones-Davis of Nation of Makers and Dale Dougherty of Make: Community along with the following panelists.


  • Sasha Neri, Harold Washington Public Library, Chicago, IL
  • Adam St. Pierre, East Baton Rouge Parish Library
  • Vi Ha, Octavia Lab, Science, Technology & Patents Department | Los Angeles Public Library
  • Amelia Vander Heide, The Makery, JFK Library, Vallejo, CA
  • Ashley Kazyaka, IdeaLab, Denver Public Library
  • Martin Villegas, City of Corona Library (Corona, CA)
  • Rebecca Cruz and Jeremiah Walter, Pikes Peak Library District (Colorado Springs, CO)
  • Jeff Stratter, Salmon Library makerspace (Salmon, Idaho)


How has your library navigated the shutdown?
Did staff participate in PPE production at home or other locations?
Are there plans for opening the library makerspace for the public?
What kind of staging or phases do you have?
How does the pandemic change how you think about the role of a makerspace in your library and community?

Chat Transcript:

00:39:56 Vi Ha:
00:40:00 Vi Ha: PPE
00:40:04 Vi Ha: reopening
00:40:14 Vi Ha:
00:40:28 Dale Dougherty: Thank you, Vi.
00:43:14 Chris Kyauk: How are you distributing the kits? We’re struggling with giving out kits but also ensuring equity in distribution.
00:44:07 Sasha Neri: Community partners can be key to accessing communities outside of your buildings.
00:50:09 Make Magazine: Rachel Van school asks: Does anyone work with kit providers or content providers?
00:51:19 Make Magazine: With partial reopening are there time limits on how long people can spend on the devices or in services?
00:55:38 Make Magazine: Some libraries that are closed, San Francisco for example, has librarians doing contact tracing for the Department of Health – are any of you or your colleagues doing that?
00:56:42 Vi Ha: We have staff doing contact tracing, meal services and also running trailer sites.
00:59:56 Martin Villegas: having kept up with the news as part of the call center staff, I have seen many articles with city officials expressing gratitude of their librarians for utilizing their skills in a new environment. Tasks such as information centers, contact tracers, etc, and our city council has also been thankful of our work
00:59:57 Sasha Neri: Budgets have been moved around to meet that ebook demand.
01:00:29 Martin Villegas: and that’s in addition to purchasing an additional 3D printer for us to assist in the PPE production
01:03:28 Vi Ha: If you need Octavia E. Butler coloring sheets….
01:03:28 Vi Ha:
01:03:40 Sasha Neri: Thanks, Vi :)
01:06:04 Dorothy Jones-Davis: I’m so excited about these Octavia Butler Coloring Sheets, lol!
01:06:10 Dorothy Jones-Davis: Thank you for sharing :-)
01:06:16 Chris Kyauk: Bravo to what you’re doing, Vi.
01:10:14 Sasha Neri: At some later date, people can access your virtual materials within the building when it’s safe for more people to visit :)
01:10:22 Martin Villegas: Our very first Maker Exchange video produced in-house!
01:11:32 Sasha Neri: And what a way to get staff trained up on new tech, eh?
01:14:02 Make Magazine: Virtual repair cafes! Virtual fixit clinics!
01:14:13 Peter Mui: We’re holding virtual fixit clinics
01:14:41 Make Magazine: Amelia mentioned homesteading books being popular
01:15:13 Peter Mui: -participant registration form at -Fixit Coach sign-in at:
01:15:15 Sasha Neri: That’s probably where I saw the Octavia Lab guide first !
01:15:28 Sasha Neri: Join us.
01:15:28 Make Magazine:


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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty


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