Raw Data, Please… Also, How to Make a Real Budget Makerspace

Now this week excited me, because the reading focused on many aspects of practical application for makerspaces in libraries. Which naturally makes me quite giddy. The School Library Journal’s article even broke down and gave some statistics of how their digital media lab was implemented by patrons (over 1,200 uses in one year). They even pointed out how this did not reflect actual patrons usage since many times projects would include groups of people. The only detractor in this analysis was it provided no context to how many patrons visit the Skokie Public Library in a year by comparison. Other useful breakdowns would have included ages, gender, a ranking of most utilized digital assets, length of time spent per session, if/how many repeat visitors to the space there were, even a diversity breakdown, if possible. These would be immensely useful in evaluating whether a comparative or equivalent potential demographic existed in our own communities.

One other slightly disheartening thing I noticed in this article before I go on to my squee-fest in the other articles was the mention of “as much through trial and error as with intention” in discovering what has worked and what has not. Not only do I wish they would have stated some of the failings (especially the ones that came as a surprise, especially when they looked so good on paper—which is the stage where I am at now), but also wished they would have reflected a bit more on how they were planning on proceeding into the future, and what they might have done differently with the valuable hindsight they now have. But I do also know that each experience is different and a valuable part of the learning process.

BUT! Onto other things!

To add to Make Magazine’s article on kickstarting a kid’s makerspace (where I am still dubious as to how “kickstart” with the implication of “grassroots” and “basic” come into play combine with such high-tech droolies as a laser cutter and milling machine with kids. In fact, outside of the $35/year subscription to their magazine plug, the cheapest item listed was $90, with the average being between $100-$2,000. Not exactly the grassroots cheap, in my mind. Though I am glad they mention it is for schools and give a quite appealing breakdown for fundraising). SO! I found a much cooler (and far more affordable kid’s starting makerspace, that could easily be adapted to a library setting on a budget. From Scholastic – Creating a Mini Makerspace. Annnnd here’s a cool home makerspace from Instructables. Love the idea about cardboard and painter’s tape!

Mini Maker Space 1

Because that is what I like about makerspaces. They are creative. They are inventive. They are adaptive, even in their own execution, they ask for creativity. And I say to that – rock on!

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