Getting Started: Key Questions and Planning

In this room you can explore the idea of a makerspace in theory and not only think about the questions we have posed, but create and add questions and resources in the comments section below. For example, you might ask: “Who am I working with right now on this idea?” Or, “Who might I work with to develop this idea?”

If you are a Public or School Library you may want to look for one or more community partners. In the case of The Westport Library in CT a local person active on several Boards (including the Board of Education) with a strong technology background came to the Library to ask if he could use a room in the Library for a Maker Faire. As we had been discussing how the Library could produce a Maker Faire we responded that we would really like to collaborate with him and his organization on the production of a Maker Faire. This partnership resulted in the co-creation of the first Westport Mini Maker Faire in April of 2012. 800 attendees were expected and 2200 people showed up. This produced the “mandate” to create a MakerSpace in the center of the Library.



Creating a Committee to focus on the MakerSpace is important in any library setting. At the Westport Library representatives from every department make up a 12 person committee, chaired by a Reference Librarian. This committee meets regularly to discuss workshops and the changing needs of the MakerSpace:


What is a makerspace? It will be different for the arts vs. the sciences. How does your mission align with your community and demographics? Don’t duplicate services; if economic development is your mission then innovation is essential; in schools it is a chance to combine formal and informal learning. There is nothing wrong with arts and crafts as a maker focus if that is a need of the community. It could serve as a good starting place.

At The Westport Library in CT the MakerSpace committee before establishing the MakerSpace considered the question “What is a maker?” in the context of their community. If everyone was a maker, then every creative act undertaken by anyone could be considered for the Library’s Makerspace, including: quilting, watercolor, pottery, web design, graphic arts, etc.  Economic development, the ability to help people develop new skills that could lead to work and/or entrepreneurship, was determined to be a major goal of the MakerSpace. With a very active Arts Center and a nearby Woodworking Center it was determined that innovation and invention especially utilizing technology would be the target activities of Makers in the MakerSpace.   The following graphic was created to help with prioritizing the inclusion of different kinds of Makers:


Get some ideas and theoretical background:

  • Study the authors’ uTEC maker model in depth if you have not already done so. Does the model work in a variety of fields: science, technology, art, music, crafts, inventing, entrepreneurship?  uTEC Maker Model
  • Don’t Forget to Play” by Andrew Miller, Edutopia, Aug, 23, 2013. This brief article argues that play should have a place in formal as well as informal education.
  • Play Studies: studies and reports since 2006 that emphasize the importance of play in education. The Strong.
  • Will technology actually give a boost to creativity and learning? Check out the SAMR model to see if mentors are using technology to actually make a difference at the top of the SAMR model:



Get Even More Ideas

Helpful Planning Documents

Standards and Learning (School libraries/learning commons)

Build your own set of questions and start planning:

  • Key Questions/Points
  • What is your purpose?
  • What is your outcome expectation?
  • Who is your “audience”?
  • What is the kind of maker we want to attract?
  • Choosing your focus: Upcycling, Disruptive Technology, Traditional Craftsman, Hobbies & Crafts Reinvisioned, DIY, Foodcrafting, Fashion & Textiles, Fine Arts, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), STEAM, Digital Design & Fabrication

Example Mission Statement from Leslie Preddy:

  • Leslie Preddy’s Mission, rules, and Logo from her Middle School planning document


Add your own questions in the comments section below and comment on other questions you see there


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