The library is the place where people and ideas come together. It’s also traditionally the place where people turn data into original content through reading, writing, analysis, and experimentation. A makerspace is a lot like the library. People turn raw materials into original creations through collaboration, innovation, and experimentation.
I’ve been slowly adding to our makerspace in my high school library. We have a Makerbot 3D Printer, a Makey-Makey, a Raspberry Pi, an old robotics kit, legos, and spare computer parts. Last week I added a Little Bits kit and students love it. I like to see students trying new things, solving problems, and essentially driving an idea from conception to execution. I watched a student say he wanted to create a strobe light with the Little Bits kit. He hooked everything thing up and said “what is going on? it didn’t work!” I did not advise, I simply observed while he unplugged and changed the order of the bits and realized his mistake. He shouted “It worked!” and we saw his face light up with the flashing strobe light.
Makerspaces belong in our libraries because they drive a way of thinking. They help students learn autonomous problem solving, inquisitive processing, and other real world skills they will be called upon to use when they move on from school. Giving students a place to exercise deductive reasoning and build confidence through practice is part of the value that a good library provides.