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Make It @ Your Library Launches, Connecting Librarians With Makerspace Projects and DIY Resources

Posted Oct 28, 2013
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In collaboration with and the American Library Association, Make It @ Your Library has introduced, a new website tailored to librarians interested in implementing makerspace projects in their libraries. Fully searchable, Make It @ Your Library connects users to projects, based on library-specific search criteria.

“Since around 2011, ‘makerspaces’ have really become a buzzword in libraries. Everyone is talking about them. A common misperception is that makerspaces require the purchase of high cost items like 3D printers, or the installation of full workshops. This site will cut down on librarian anxiety,” said Victoria Rakowski, assistant director of youth services at Lisle Library District.

“We created for people to explore, document and share projects they are passionate about,” said Eric Wilhelm, founder of and director of communities at Autodesk. “Hands-on experience is key to unlocking that passion. Make it @ Your Library is a great opportunity for people to start making things and learn through doing. We’re thrilled to offer our extensive DIY content to this nationwide educational endeavor.” is an online DIY community for people over age 13 to make and share their projects, ideas and how-to information. DIY projects posted to include such categories as technology, crafts, home improvement, art, cooking and more. With its link to the new site, librarians can identify and select DIY projects that are cost-, age- and content-appropriate for specific communities.

Make It @ Your Library, with Web development by Sean Fitzpatrick of LIS Host, aids librarians in identifying maker projects and classifies them by several elements including tools and space needed, age level, category, cost and time needed for the project.

? “Tools and Space,” adapted from the research of a leading member of the Maker movement Travis Good, defines the type of space (classroom, workshop, garage) and tools (household tools, robotics, power tools) that the project requires.

? “Age Level” defines the appropriate age of the project. The age categories are broad: “0-10” “11-18” or “Adult.” Users can choose all three options to identify any “all ages” projects.

? “Category” defines the character of the completed project. Options for categories include Workshop, Living, Outside, Play, Technology and Food.

? “Cost” will help librarians to determine the price per person of each project. Options range from “Less than $5 per person” to “More than $20 per person.” This search option will allow librarians to estimate a budget for the project, including cost of materials to create the project.

? “Time per Project” defines the estimated amount of time a project will take. Options include “Less than 1 Hour,” “1-2 Hours,” “2-3 Sessions,” and “More than 3 sessions.” This search option will allow librarians to determine the amount of labor and scheduling needed to implement a project or program.

Library makerspaces are opening across the Chicago area. Examples include the Maker Lab at the Chicago Public Library and the Idea Box at the Oak Park Public Library. CPL’s Maker Lab includes 3D software, 3D printing, laser cutters, a milling machine and a vinyl cutter. The lab offers free workshops, open lab hours and demonstrations. A different kind of space, the Idea Box at OPPL promotes experimentation, tinkering and participatory learning by changing out interactive exhibits every month in the library. Past exhibits included themes that allow patrons to discuss their experiences in travel, camping, and wishes.

Make It @ Your Library, initially developed as part of ILEAD USA, was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant. The site helps librarians realize makerspace projects in their communities. Through this site, libraries of all stripes and sizes will be able to experiment with maker projects. Make it @ Your Library believes that content creation in the library is a vital direction for our libraries to pursue and that maker projects don’t need to be the result of thousands of dollars of space renovation, equipment or special staffing.

Source: Make It @ Your Library,

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