Makerspaces and libraries: two great tastes that taste great together

Alex Duner describes the rise and rise of makerspaces in libraries, rattling off an impressive list of public libraries that have taken the mission of turning knowledge into action to the next step. Especially inspiring are the stories of library makerspace users who are finding new ways of expressing themselves, earning a living and improving their lives and making their worlds better through making.

Makerspaces like the one in the Harold Washington Library are starting to pop up across the country, Clark says. They seem to be the next step in libraries’ transformation for the 21st Century. “There is always an adoption curve,” notes Clark. “Part of that has to do with resources, leadership, and willingness to take risks. There are going to be different speeds of change but we are starting to see this revving up everywhere.”

The Chattanooga Public Library created the 4th Floor, a 14,000-square foot space that is part public laboratory, part educational space. Libraries also have high-tech makerspaces in Westport, Connecticut; Fayetteville, New York; and Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Madison Pubilc Library created the Bubbler, a series of programs led by experts from the community that cover everything from animation to dance to clothing design. And last summer, the Washington, D.C., Public Library opened up the Digital Commons, a collaborative workspace.

Shifting from Shelves to Snowflakes [Alex Duner/The Magazine]

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