Celebrating the #makerspace philosophy

I’ve been heartened to read widely & be inspired by the philosophies & ideas that underpin the #makerspace movement. Here’s just a selection of great stories that capture some of this:

And the most exciting part of this past month is seeing #makerspace and #libraries becoming a reality here in New Zealand!

For me, the #makerspace movement celebrates the power of the community – it allows the community to make the space into what they want it to be, how they want it to be, why they want to the space. Libraries & librarians acting as facilitators: we can tap into funding, we can open up the spaces, then we walk alongside our communities to share in the joy of creation. Our communities are the heart of all of this.

Inspired by #IdeaBox

I’ve been participating in the #hyperlibMOOC and the following clip is a guest lecture given by Monica Harris, from Oak Park Public Library.

I was so inspired by Idea Box, hearing about the engagement & participation from the community was fantastic. I am especially taken by the monthly switch-around of the space, ensuring that it doesn’t grow stale, & also giving people a sense of “must go check it out” each month.

What if … we re-purposed an empty shop space to create something our own version of Idea Box?

What if … we supported 12 groups to take ownership for creating each monthly idea Box-like space?

What if … we had a map in the library foyer over Student Orientation week?

What if … we created a digital “walk-through” version of Idea Box for our online communities?

Investigating #collaborative spaces

Last month I put a call out on Twitter for NZ libraries about #makerspaces or #fixerspaces.

Several positive responses led to interesting offline discussions, sparking more ideas & conversations. I’m fascinated by the whole notion of #collaborative spaces, and what role(s) librarians & libraries can/will/could/should play.

So for the rest of October 2013, I will be researching, exploring, collating, collecting, sharing, #fizzing about collaborative spaces – be they labelled participatory spaces, maker spaces, fixer spaces, collective spaces – shared places where people & ideas come together, to make stuff happen.

A world of new librarianship #newlib #MOOC

I’ve recently joined over 1,000 others to participate in a librarian-specific MOOC – the New Librarianship Master Class. It builds on the concepts & discussion & learnings in The Atlas of New Librarianship by R.D. Lankes.

It’s no secret that I readily subscribe to the mission of the Atlas of New Librarianship – The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communitiesMy experiences with the Heroes Mingle Reality Librarianship 2012 & 2013 series reinforces this for me. Again & again, I see the role of librarians shifting for passive collectors, describers & organisers of knowledge to active facilitators of knowledge creation within their communities. I’ve been waiting for this MOOC as a way to jumpstart my re-engagement with the book.

This experience of a MOOC is not my first, but it is certainly the first that is focused in my professional field, and I actually know some of the people taking the course (either in real life, or via Twitter). I’m pleased to see quite a cohort of antipodeans involved in the MOOC, and also the discussions that are happening on Twitter about it.

Some of my usual MOOC frustrations are still apparent – the overwhelming “chatter” of so many different people, the discombobulation of the forums/discussion boards, the sheer amount of information to digest. However, what is different for me this time, is that I am committed to engaging with the content, reflecting on the content, digesting the content and once again diving into re-reading the book.

It’s been interesting to see so many MOOC participants struggle to separate libraries from librarians, as well disentangle specific types of librarianship from the wider professional field of librarianship. It serves to remind me that we need to keep engaging with one another, to seek out different perspectives, to understand different philosophies and forge new avenues of professional thinking.

I’m relishing being thrown back into deeper discussions about librarianship, & being challenged by other people’s points of views. It’s given me an outlet for some of professional discussion that I have been looking for. It also gives me an opportunity to reflect on the online learning experience, learning without assessment, to be part of the impact of MOOCs on higher education, and ruminate on ways to incorporate my experiences& knowledge into other parts of my professional life.

There’s plenty of other folks sharing their experiences about this MOOC – such as BeerBrarian’s thoughts on week one and Timothy A. Lepczyk’s first week reflections – as well as many discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #newlib.

Be yodeling : celebrate what shouldn’t work


Sometimes the things you least expect to work do in fact exceed your expectations.

If I said “I’ve got tickets for tonight’s comedy folk act, want to join me?”, you might respond “not in a million years”.

Because, as Paul Horan wrote, “On paper, yodeling lesbian twins don’t really work.” And yet, the Topp Twins work (bet you wish you’d said yes to the show tickets now don’t you?). Another Kiwi folk duo, Flight of the Conchords, probably shouldn’t work either, but they do. Neither are what you would call mainstream acts, and that is possibly the reason why they do work. They aren’t aiming for middle-of-the-road, guaranteed-to-work shows. They are quirky and unexpected.

What if … you made a list of all the crazy “it’ll never work” ideas? Then ask ‘why not’. Are you comfortable the answers? Instead of focusing on why something shouldn’t work, why not just focus on why & how it could work? Then make it happen.

What if … you had a borrowable telescope? Ann Arbor District Library does.

What if … you checked out musical instruments? Lopez island Library does.

What if … you could check out a garden allotment? LibraryFarm exists.

What if … you could spark conversations & encouraging reminiscing amongst older members of your community? Ann Arbor District Library offers a range of different themed kits to do this.

What if … you offered programmes for 20-30 year olds? Sacramento Public Library does.

What if … you created a collaborative space for artists & librarians? Library as Incubator exists.

For more ideas & inspiration, check out the Pew Internet article on Innovative library services “in the wild”. Make sure you yodel while you read it.