Three things I learned from my Library Maker Space

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Having the resources to begin my maker space, and the belief in how it could change lives both in place, I jumped forward with no hesitation. Nothing could stop me. I was the invincible programs librarian with a mission! Almost two years down the road the excitement is still with me, but I have plateaued into a moderated state of being. My goal is to maintain and keep it running smoothly. And that is good. However, I have realized three critical points that hopefully keep me afloat as we continue to move forward.
1. Not everything is 3-D printers and robots. When i began i kept thinking that i need electronics, coding, robots, bread boards, ardruino’s and raspbery PI’s. I was forgetting that tinkering is also creating. And creating can take on many forms and use many types of media. Paper, nature, cloth, string, nails, needles, leather, sticks, and cardboard all have a place in my maker space now. And people love them. I realized that kids especially have a disconnect from “hands on” making. They need to feel texture and manipulate it and transform it into something very cool. This is invaluable especially when considering the second thing i learned.
2. Making does NOT equal MONEY. We have done so many projects that cost us zero dollars, or under 5 for the whole day. Utilizing my community for scraps, leftovers, pieces, and throw away parts, and especially my thrift store has been a huge asset. String art, toilet paper roll animals, card board architecture, and hammering leaves have been just a few things we have done for NO money. ASK ASK ASK, and people will give. it’s also a great way to network your library. Why does the library need your old fax machine? Come see!
3. And finally, the last thing I learned is that I don’t have to do it all. This is a big one. I feel the compulsive need to know it all and be self reliant. Not because I want the glory. I hate being a burden on some one else. I just do it myself. But I don’t know it all: and I don’t NEED to! Using my number one resource…my community. Call in people to help. Show us how it’s done. Teach us how it goes together. That is how we build a successful maker program. And that my friends is how we will keep it. And that is the best end goal I can imagine.
Rasheil Stanger