Just about every library I’ve been to in the past 172 years of my life has had a lot of books, a lot of quiet and a lot of room left vacant for spur-of-the-moment MLM meetings. The child who brings a desktop lathe and scrapes of grandpa’s wood to sit quietly tooling away in a library corner would typically be frowned upon if not kicked to the curb. Makeitatyourlibrary.org is a fresh new site changing that, turning library spaces into makerspaces and pushing kids to kick that book learnin’ up a notch with some gentle application, an ounce of inspiration and 50 tons of project pickin’ possibility.
Make It @ Your Library
First, if you’re wondering what the difference between a makerspace, hackerspace, a fablab or techshop is, you may want to head over to Make to let Gui explain the difference, but you won’t find a few enterprising librarians squabbling over the semantics of such sentence splitting speech. Make It @ Your Library was started by ILEAD (Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover) to turn librarians on (cue the sexy music) to makerspace projects in their community. Out of that, the Make it @ Your Library website was created with collaboration between ILEAD, Instructables and the American Library Association.
If you’r familiar with Instructable, the site will be familiar. Where it differs is in the ability to sort projects by Tools/Space, Age group, Category, Cost and Time — a few filters it wouldn’t be so bad to see on the main Instructables site as well. The search results on the Make It site are not as visual as those on Instructables, but the results are filled with fun project that match the criteria and can help start off that Library Makerspace, Homeschool DIY Club or give you some ammo for Junk drawer robotics.
The ILEAD group is based in Chicago where a couple of Library Makerspaces are already up and running. Maker Lab at the Chicago Public Library provides access to software, equipment and lessons, while the Idea Box at the Oak Park Public Library has installations that encourage tinkering an play. More often than not, libraries are places where learning happens, and also where ideas happen from time to time. Why not put access to applying that learning and making those ideas happen in the same place?