Makerspaces might have now become a household term, but what tools are necessary to develop a makerspace? And what kind of resources can libraries offer?
Tools can encompass a wide range of resources depending on the types of projects /programs a library wants to deliver. From special scissors and jewelry pliers for making jewelry to motors, gears and cables for use in building a robot, to python and other programming languages for learning to direct robots. This wide range of tools and approaches helps guarantee a broad variety of maker projects and even enables different levels of makers to be engaged.
Jaina Shaw, in her article Libraries are for Making: Robots, describes experiences where the Westport Library, in CT invested in two humanoid robots and teens got the opportunity to program the robots. In addition to that great experience, you can learn other things the library committed to do to engage their community through making by reading the full article in the Winter edition of YALS.
Many libraries have experienced shifting transitions over the past few years in an effort to maintain transcending services in response to changing community demographics. With the extension of the common core in schools across different states, as well as a wider emphasis on science, math, technology, engineering and arts, some such libraries have begun a shift in the ways they think about programs and staffing models. It has been a longstanding idea that the library is everything to everyone, but is it time for libraries to start thinking in other directions in regards to staffing models? This lends to consideration of staffing models like the one that has been taking shape in The Free Library of Philadelphia via a program called Maker Jawn.
In an interview, K-Fai Steele, who previously managed the Maker Jawn Initiative at The Free Library of Philadelphia, shared advantages and challenges of the Maker Jawn approach, including information about the staffing model.
The Maker Jawn staffing model employs experts of various fields to provide valuable STEAM based programs and resources in libraries where community residents wouldn’t otherwise have access to such resources. Currently in its second year, the Maker Jawn Program was initiated through a grant fund and has played a role in bridging the gap to under-privileged neighborhoods in Philadelphia where schools have less funding and therefore less programs and resources of such nature. STEAM related contents offered through the Maker Jawn enables participants to think outside of the box and develop critical and creative skills while developing knowledge of job fields that most times are far removed from the daily experiences of these community teens.
Developed by leading members of Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), Toolkit for Expanded Learning is, as the website says, “intended to provide resources for city agencies, school districts, intermediaries and other organizations interested in implementing or strengthening city-wide expanded learning opportunities….”
The Toolkit site is broken down into three different categories and a set of sub-categories. In each section there are downloadable resources aimed at giving users the skills and information needed in order to succeed in expanding learning in out-of-school-time settings. Categories covered include:
In the winter issue of YALS Jessica Schneider and and Erica Gauquier discuss how they brought Minecraft to teens at the Darien Library in Connecticut. Their article highlights the ways in which library staff and teens can work together to build programs and to support a wide-range of teen interests and needs through technology.
What is Minecraft? As Erica and Jessica describe it in their article:
Minecraft is a like a virtual and ongoing game of legos. Players mine for necessary materials in order to thrive in the game. You simply move blocks and build upon them gathering supplies as you go. As a player gets better and gains wood from trees, wool from sheep, meat from pigs, and diamonds from the earth, the possibilities for gathering new materials and resources becomes greater. The game can get even more complicated if you are so inclined, allowing players to create their own modifications (mods)- which leads to learning essential programming skills.
The winter issue of YALS includes an article on the YALSA Forum on Teens and Libraries. At the time of the issue’s publication the summit, discussed in the article, was just taking place. The summit brought together a group of people from inside and outside of libraries to consider the future of libraries. Participants included library administrators, library staff working directly with teens, educators, publishers, members of the technology community, teen advocates, youth development experts, and more. (You can see the full list of participants.) It was an amazing group who spent two full days thinking about the world of teens and how libraries, and other youth serving organizations, can support those needs.
Some of the major themes that came out of the two days include: Continue reading
In the winter 2013 issue of YALS, Alida Hanson talks about the value of connecting with stakeholders to help them understand the importance of using social media in services to teens (particularly in school libraries). There are several resources YALS readers might find useful when investigating how to make these stakeholder connections:
American Association of School Librarians. White Paper on Educational Technology in Schools.
boyd, danah. The Power of Fear in Networked Publics.
The winter 2013 issue of YALS is all about teens and tech. In her article on apps for teens on the autism spectrum, Renee McGrath, Manager of Youth Services for the Nassau Library System (Long Island, NY), writes about a variety of apps and covers apps helpful in organizing life, apps that aid in literacy and learning, and apps that are fun and relieve stress. Links to all of the apps discussed in the article are available below.
Social Skills and Apps for Daily Living
The fall issue of YALS focuses on advocacy with four articles featuring helpful, hands-on tips for librarians who work with teens. In her article on how great teen librarians make great library advocates, Maureen Hartman talks about building partnerships in the community in order to advocate for teens and the services for them. Heather Gruenthal covers the A to Z of being a teen advocate in a school library. What about advocating every hour of the work-day with and for teens? Is that possible too?
In the YALSA book, Being a Teen Library Services Advocate I talk about 24/7 advocacy and include an hourly overview of what a library staff member serving teens might work on during the day and how each activity can include an advocacy piece. The overview looks like this (You can zoom in or pop-open the pdf file to get a better view.):
In the fall issue of YALS, with the theme of advocacy, Heather Gruenthal’s article, A School Library Advocacy Alphabet, provides readers with a wealth of information on how school library staff (and others that work with teens actually) can advocate for their libraries and for teens every day of the year. Heather covers the meaning of advocacy, the importance of branding, collaboration, telling your story, elevator pitches, and even why photocopying is important. She also provides a really useful list of resources for anyone to use to learn about advocacy and learn how to hone their advocacy skills. Here’s what’s on her list:
The Fall 2012 issue of YALS includes an article by Maureen Hartman (Coordinating Librarian for Youth Literacy and Learning at the Hennepin County Library) titled Good Teen Librarians Make Great Library Advocates. The article focuses on the ways library staff working with teens can build relationships and partnerships in order to advocate successfully for the age group. Not only are staff at the Hennepin County Library building collaborations, partnerships, and relationships they are also producing videos to help get the word out about the importance of serving teens in libraries.