Why are maker spaces so important?

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In the last two weeks I have been doing quite a bit of research for a project I’m working on.  It has given me a new perspective and renewed sense of urgency about the maker movement and the libraries role in it.  But first, I have a confession to make: I became a librarian by mistake.  After becoming the programs librarian for our community library I was looking for innovative ways to bring patrons to the library to show them all the great programming and educational programs that we provide…that are FREE.   I stumbled on to a maker space website and shortly after I saw the documentary film about the maker movment.  I was hooked!  I was a believer, I was all in…show me what to do.  It took a little convincing and educating, but thanks to a great director we were off and running.  Since then I have seen the power and the necessity for this movement in our communities.  There are so many people who are craving and yearning to experiment.  Make things for themselves.  Self directing their tinkering. Learning code. All  they need is a place to do it.  And maybe a mentor to guide their progress.  Libraries are there for this purpose.  We want to be there: we need to be there.  It’s our new destiny.  Sure the library has books, computers, and provides access to the internet…but we can take this to the next step. Using these same resources to further the education of our patrons.  I’m waiting for the next Bill Gates to emerge and say, “It all started one day at the my local library…”  We are a new stage in the evolution of the educational process, and in the transformation of libraries going into the future.  Building stronger economies, partnering with schools.   Today, the concept of literacy encompasses much more than just reading and writing; it has evolved into “transliteracy,” commonly defined as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms and tools.  We can support this process. We are heading into the future doing what we do best, teaching, providing and innovating.  And SPLAT is there to lead the way!