Opinion
Education Opinion

Why Makerspaces Are Perfect for School and Public Libraries

By Matthew Lynch — April 04, 2017 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Makerspaces have become one of the latest trends for libraries as they continue to adapt to the changing needs of users. Like other library services, makerspaces have developed as the needs of library users have expanded from print resources and traditional services to include a variety of digital formats and services. As a result, both public and school libraries have moved towards providing access to materials and resources that promote literacy in digital information and technology, as well as, more traditional forms of information.

Makerspaces can provide librarians and educators with an ideal method for allowing students to develop many of the digital information and technological skills they will need to be successful in society. Makerspaces are collaborative learning spaces, and according to Koh and Abbas in their article Competencies for Information Professionals in Learning Labs and Makerspaces, users can, “explore traditional and digital media, interact with mentors and peers, and engage in creative projects.”

Makerspaces provide users with an opportunity to experience a variety of subjects and activities in a hands-on environment. Many makerspaces incorporate a variety of technologies and craft activities and can include 3-D printers, Legos, creative and industrial arts, graphic design, sewing, and much more.

Both public and school libraries have employed makerspaces to serve similar purposes. For public libraries, makerspaces are a way to stay current with developing technologies and engage users in an interactive manner. Public libraries around the country have set up makerspaces and are offering programs that promote engagement, collaboration, and hands-on learning.

Recently, the American Library Association partnered with Google for Education to explore how libraries are utilizing coding in their makerspaces. As a part of this project, the group conducted interviews and visits to libraries to see how coding was being incorporated. They discovered that libraries had used their spaces to offer a variety of coding activities including one-time programs, series events, and open lab time.

Linda Braun, a library consultant and author of Ready to Code: Insights from an ALA-Google Initiative, discussed the impact of these programs in her article. Braun mentions that some of the takeaways from the programs showed attendees engaging in peer mentoring activities, as well as, acquiring a basis for future successes due to an opportunity to experiment in a non-traditional environment. The outcomes from this program seem to indicate that makerspaces are fulfilling expectations and enabling users to acquire necessary twenty-first-century skills.

Public librarians are not the only ones who have incorporated these technologies into their mission; school libraries are also getting on board with the maker space trend. School administrators, educators, and librarians have been working together to incorporate makerspaces into school libraries since the beginning of President Barack Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign began in 2013. The push for improving students’ knowledge in STEM subjects has brought the maker space movement to the forefront of education with its focus on hands-on learning.

According to the Presidential report, Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future, educators need to incorporate different teaching methods to provide students with the necessary knowledge in STEM subjects, “STEM education is most successful when students develop personal connections with the ideas and excitement of STEM fields. This can occur not only in the classroom but also through individualized and group experiences outside the classroom and through advanced courses.”

Educators and librarians have been working hard to adjust curriculum and technologies in and out of the classroom to fulfill this goal. In school libraries, makerspaces provide the ideal opportunity for school librarians to partner more closely with the teachers and students they serve to provide the expanded digital, information, and technology instruction that is necessary for students to succeed.

Makerspaces are a vital piece in the education of today’s students, and as such, they provide hands-on learning experiences that are not available in a traditional classroom environment. As they have established makerspaces, libraries have successfully developed programs that address the need for educating students in twenty-first-century skills that will help students be successful in the workplace. Librarians in both public and school libraries have recognized that makerspaces are a part of their mission to provide access to information and digital and technological literacy.

Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP