Why the sudden interest in #makerspaces?

I’ve watching with interest to see where #makerspaces, in a general sense as well as specifically in libraries, are headed both here & overseas.

I’ve also been fascinated to see the growth of the fixer movement, creating #fixerspaces (organised by groups like NY Fixers Collective) – where people bring broken things in (everything from bikes to toasters) to either fix them back to a working state or re-purpose them into another use, rather than creating/making something new – with information & resources shared online via sites such as ifixit.org.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time associated with Christchurch over the past three years and have seen the power & impact of grassroots collaboration (GapFiller, Ministry of Awesome, Student Volunteer Army) to make interesting things happen in communities.

There’s plenty of debate over the naming of these spaces (as an article in Make alludes to, Is it a Hackerspace, Makerspace, TechShop, or FabLab?) but ultimately I think the overall concept describes a collective space where people share ideas, tools, space, knowledge and contribute to collaborative learning – a space for lifelong learning. Pretty much matching all the goals of a library.

#makerspaces have always been around, with people in backyard sheds tinkering with stuff, but I think the modern day shift is the transformation of #makerspaces towards a collaborative & communal model, with collective ownership & contribution of tools, space, learning, instead of individualised spaces.

So what could or should the role of the library be in this new collaborative model?


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