Community is key #makerspace

I am thrilled to see the following two articles relating to #makerspaces (thanks @sallyheroes for sharing).

Community is Key to Successful Library Maker Spaces | The Digital Shift 2013

Make it @ your library website launches, connecting librarians with makerspace projects and DIY resources | ALA

I have thoroughly learning about & exploring ideas related to #makerspaces during October 2013. Makerspaces can happen. Makerspaces will happen. The key ingredient? Community.

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?

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

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.

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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.

Giving back to the profession in other ways #mentoring

We all lead busy & varied lives, and sometimes we feel like we just don’t have the time to be on a committee, be a mentor, run a workshop, take part in a MOOC, or even just fill in an online membership feedback survey, because it all seems too big, too hard, too much.

What if … we flip that thinking?

Instead of thinking I can’t participate in [insert task that seems overwhelming] at the moment because I am too busy/tired/fed up [insert adjective of choice], what about contributing in other ways instead? Think small & achievable contributions rather than bigger-than-Texas.

We all bring different strengths to the table – look at your peers, can you see the writers, the organisers, the workhorses, the dreamers, the leaders, the artists? Every one of them has something to offer to the library industry. Instead of relying on a small group of committed individuals who regularly step up to industry committees/project groups/conference organisation, we could share the load if we broke it down into more manageable sized “tasks”, we could play to people’s strengths and achieve something truly awesome as a profession.

The collective is stronger than the individual.

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