MakerSpaces: A Webinar and Book with Little eLit-ers Cindy Wall and Lynn Pawloski

The Little eLit community now includes 200+ library staffers and other professionals across North America. It should come as no surprise that these passionate librarians are involved in many youth services initiatives in addition to the usual young children and new media focus of Little eLit. Today’s post, by Cindy Wall and Lynn Pawloski, highlights some of the pair’s work with makerspaces, another library service concept getting a lot of traction. ~Amy

Sometimes Libraryland hands you lemons and all you can do is make lemonade. If your library is too crowded to accommodate a dedicated MakerSpace like ours, don’t give up. Create your own mix of Maker lemonade with library Maker programming.

At the April 2013 Connecticut Library Association Annual Conference, we delivered a presentation on iPad programming for children that inspired many questions and much enthusiasm from the audience. On the same day, we attended a terrific presentation by Bill Derry and his colleagues at the Westport Public Library on MakerSpaces which, in turn, inspired our own questions and enthusiasm. However, when we returned to the reality of our own library, we were told our library was too small to house a dedicated MakerSpace.

What were we to do with all of this unbridled Maker enthusiasm? We decided that even if we couldn’t have a MakerSpace, we could have Maker programming. We started with programming for older children and worked our way through the ages until we offered Maker programming for ages 1-12.

While we were brainstorming Maker program ideas, we were still being contacted and visited by librarians interested in iPad programming. We wondered if we might receive the same amount of interest in our ideas for Maker programs as we did from our iPad programming presentation. Then we thought, “What if we wrote a book about Maker programming?” We laughed at the outrageousness of the suggestion, but researched publishers anyway. Sure enough, we found one who was interested in our proposal.

ABC-CLIO is currently editing our book, The Maker Cookbook: Recipes for Children’s and ‘Tween Library Programs. We’ll be previewing a selection of ideas from the book in the ALSC webinar, Maker Programming For Kids: No MakerSpace Required, on Wednesday, April 9th from 7:00-8:00 p.m. ET or Thursday, April 24th from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Some of the programs we’ll discuss include:

  • Balloon Zip Line
  • Stop Motion Film
  • Food Detectives
  • Maker Open House for Preschoolers
  • T-shirt Transfers

Maker programming is a great way to add diversity to your library’s offerings. There is something for everyone, regardless of budget, staff size or technology comfort level. So, go ahead, mix it up. Like real lemonade, your Maker programming will be refreshing and a sweet success!

Cindy and Lynn work together in the Children’s Department at Southington Library and Museum in Southington, CT. They have dedicated their year to creating Maker programming and have recently taken to the podium to spread the word about the joys of integrating Maker programming into programming for children of all ages. Cindy and Lynn are co-authors of the forthcoming book The Maker Cookbook: Recipes for Children’s and ‘Tween Library Programs.
Little eLit is a collaborative think tank of professionals thinking about the topic of young children, new media, and libraries. Individuals who share their viewpoints, experiences, and presentations in Little eLit blog posts are expressing their personal views and do not represent Little eLit as a whole.

About Amy Koester

I'm a youth services librarian with a penchant for exciting ideas and engaging programs. It's a sure bet that if you talk to me about STEAM, whimsy, and trying new things, we'll be best friends forever.

Posted on April 8, 2014, in webinar and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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