New Jersey Library Makerspaces - The Leading Edge, 2013-2014

New Jersey Library Makerspaces - The Leading Edge, 2013-2014


A Joint Initiative of the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ

“A Makerspace houses a community of Makers. It’s a place where someone would come to learn how to use a new tool or material in a new way, or to see what others are working on because they might want to help out on that project or start something similar. Ideally, your Makerspace should be conducive to inspiration, collaboration, and conversation.”   (Makerspace Playbook, p.13)


Project Documents

Makerspaces Project Description & Details WORD PDF
Makerspaces Project Application WORD PDF
Makerspaces Project Form WORD PDF
Subsidy Chart WORD PDF

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Goal: Expand New Jersey library horizons with services models that transcend traditional roles.


  • Jumpstart a pilot project in direct response to library community input during the Statewide Strategic Planning Process (FY2013).
  • Subsidize selected LibraryLinkNJ member libraries statewide to achieve a local Makerspace strategic goal.
  • Foster “connection development” in New Jersey libraries where users can connect, explore, and create.
  • Challenge libraries to expand their education role to embrace and model the new culture of learning by exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning.
    (from: Brown, John Seely and Douglas Thomas. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011)
  • Encourage collaboration among and with the school/academic community to highlight and support 21st Century teaching and learning.

Measures of Success:

  • At least five to ten library entities of varying sizes and types develop and launch Makerspace initiatives within the contract period.
  • Library Makerspace initiatives demonstrate partnerships with local institutions, organizations and/or businesses.
  • Contract libraries promote and document community response and impact.

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Introduction and Project Rationale

Makerspaces: it’s time!

The New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ are proud to announce our Makerspace initiative for 2013-2014: New Jersey Library Makerspaces – The Leading Edge.

Many of you have heard about Makerspaces and some of you may be a little intimidated at the thought of creating one. Perhaps you know that it may involve a 3-D printer, an embroidery machine, the Arduino prototyping platform, a variety of technology and digital equipment -- including still and video cameras -- drawing tablets, and video and photo editing software. Sound a little scary?

Think back to when you saw your very first computer or e-reader. Remember asking yourself how you would ever learn how to use it, much less be able to teach someone else the basics? Well, not only did you learn it – you mastered it, and now it’s become an integral part of your library’s daily life.

If you have ever incorporated crafts into your storytimes, hosted a quilting group or knitting circle or been a faculty adviser to a robotics club, you’ve already created a Makerspace. The contemporary Makerspace is really about bringing people together to create something using digital or analog technology. Such spaces can both enrich and empower library users’ lives. It’s an extension of the library’s mission -- a place of lifelong learning and community engagement -- be it public, academic, school, medical or other type of library. The strategic anchor for proceeding is the goal for any type of library to be a place to draw in current and new library users of all ages to connect, experiment, and create with a myriad of technology and other materials – in a team, as a family, or as lone explorers.

The Makerspace project addresses a driving need expressed by New Jersey’s librarians in meetings, focus groups, LibraryLinkNJ’s membership survey, emails and phone calls. The Makerspace concept is one of the hottest service areas discussed in the library press, in association conferences, and among colleagues. It was one of the top choices for projects the library community designated to move forward in our Statewide Strategic Plan’s focus groups.

So… if you have the initiative, we have the funding!

No match is required. We offer a straight subsidy to get your Makerspace up and running. The subsidy chart and application details are below, as are the details pertaining to application eligibility.

“What will kill our profession is not e-books, Amazon, or Google, but a lack of imagination.” 
--R. David Lankes, iSchool at Syracuse University

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Project Description

Submit any questions by email to Sophie Brookover, sbrookover [at] (subject: Makerspaces) . Since we anticipate many similar and repeat questions, we will address them in a regularly updated FAQ page on the project website.


Project Launch:   September 11, 2013
Application Deadline:  December 11, 2013
Evaluation Period: December 13, 2013 - January 6, 2014
Award Notification Date:  January 8, 2014
Implementation Deadline:   September 9, 2014
Participant Project Report Date:  November 21, 2014

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New Jersey State Library    $50,000
LibraryLinkNJ   $50,000  (approved by membership on 6/18/13)
Project Total:  $100,000

LibraryLinkNJ and its services are funded by the New Jersey State Library, which is responsible for the coordination, promotion and funding of the New Jersey Library Network.

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Eligibility, Application, Contract Award and Subsidy Process


  • LibraryLinkNJ public, school, academic, hospital/medical libraries and library-related agencies that are in good standing and have not yet implemented a Makerspace strategy are eligible to apply for a contract award and the subsidy.
  • Eligible libraries may apply for both the Mobile Services Project launched June 3 and the Makerspace Initiative.

Application Process:

  • Eligible LibraryLinkNJ member libraries that have not yet implemented a Makerspace should fill out and submit the application form in a pdf by email (required) to the coconnor [at] (subject: Makerspaces) (LibraryLinkNJ Executive Director). The submission deadline is December 11, 2013 at 4:00pm. An earlier submission date is allowed.
  • Project partners will review each application for required elements. Incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.
  • Applications accumulate until the start date for evaluation.
  • A Makerspace Evaluation Task Force will evaluate all eligible applications.
  • Libraries that apply agree to submit final fiscal and project reports to LibraryLinkNJ no later than November 21, 2014.
  • Participating libraries must agree that the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ can share their report data with the membership, the library community outside the state, and selected media venues.
  • The Project Timeline details all the application process dates.

Contract Award Process:

The criteria for receiving a contract award include:

  • Applicant fulfills application process and signs contract award agreement if so offered.
  • Applicant provides evidence of community input toward project.
  • Applicant partners with a local institution(s), organization(s) and/or business(es). This is not required but is encouraged.
  • Applicant describes current staff knowledge/capacity & interest, including approaches to staff training, staff scheduling, and programmatic scheduling.
  • Task Force evaluation will use a rubric which lists required elements and has point differentiations for the responses from applicants. Each of the following categories will be ranked in the range from 1 to 10, where the project application requirements are: not met (0), partially met (1-6), fully met (7) and exceeded (8-10).
    1. Application Certification
    2. Overall Makerspace Project Table depth and clarity
    3. Project Description including goal(s) and objective(s)
    4. Description of potential Makerspace vendors and products in relation to project goal
    5. Project Budget
    6. Description of Staff Commitment
    7. Overview of Implementation Timeline
    8. Description of Marketing Strategy and Public Relations Plan
    9. Description of Evaluation Plan
    10. Description of Sustainability Plan 

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Subsidy Level:

Public Libraries

Population Served Subsidy 
 Fewer than 14,999 $3,750
15,000 – 24,999   $3,750 
25,000 – 37,499 $5,000 
37,500 – 49,999 $7,500
50,000 – 99,999  $10,000
Greater than 100,000   $12,500

Academic, Hospital/Medical Libraries

FTE  Subsidy
 Fewer than 2,499  $3,750
 2,500 – 4,999 $3,750 
5,000 – 7,499  $5,000
7,500 – 9,999 $7,500
  10,000 – 19,000   $10,000 
Greater than 20,000     $12,500 


School Libraries

Organization Type Subsidy 
 Public School District – can be used with a single school as a pilot or several schools within a district  $5,000
Private School   $3,750 


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Contract Awards

The following libraries received awards for their projects:

MAKE | AC - Atlantic City Public Library ($7,500): Dream it - Design it - Do it promotes STEM education, career exploration, self-directed learning, creative expression and entrepreneurship through maker programming to the children and teens of Atlantic City.

Library's Idea and Creation Station - Caldwell College Library ($3,750): K12 and college educators focus on creating 3D objects for use in classrooms for students with visual impairments or who are tactile/kinesthetic learners.

Sharing Our Stories Makerspace - Caldwell Public Library ($3,750): A compact, mobile makerspace with digital recorders and scanners will foster the preservation and sharing of local history, memories and photos online using a network of senior citizens, schools and community groups. An added bonus is a guide to help other libraries create a local history-based makerspace.

EBPLay Lab - East Brunswick Public Library ($7,500) - EBPlay Lab is an open media lab that engages the East Brunswick community in learning and creating content in digital formats. The library will partner with the East Brunswick High School Video Club to sponsor Record.Play, a short film competition for teens. Teens will be invited to create a 90 second “trailer” promoting the services of the East Brunswick Public Library.

The MakerStudio at GCLS - Gloucester County Library System ($12,500): Aligned with the "Educate to Innovate" government initiative, makerspace rooms across the county will engage young and old in creative thinking and encourage community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, art and mechanics.

Play in Always On. Level Up! - Hillsdale Public Library ($3,750): An expansion from 2 hours to 50 hours of successful crafting and nontraditional programming through a mini-makerspace and portable workstations with the help of teachers, students, and passionate community tinkerers.

Hoboken Library Creation Space - Hoboken Public Library ($10,000) - Hoboken Library Creation Space will be a place for community members of all ages and skill levels to have access to tools, technology and training on robotics, editing software and coding. Staffers will collaborate with Stevens Technical Institute students to provide instruction for local high school and middle school students.

MHS Innovation Lab - Manasquan High School Media Center ($5,000): 3D print and scan focus for students - with facilitators- to use creative problem solving and design skills via independent projects.

Make it @ Mount Laurel Library - Mount Laurel Public Library ($7,499.70) – through hands-on programs and drop-in sessions with maker tools such as Makey Makey, Snap Circuits and Squishy Circuits, the library will complement the STEM curriculum and provide a more thorough understanding of STEM topics. Teachers can explore product design in their classrooms and can arrange for students to print out their designs on the library's 3-D printer.

NBFPL Handcrafting Makerspace - New Brunswick Public Library ($10,000) – The NBFPL Handcrafting Makerspace will provide free, regular access to products and materials and introduction to a variety of equipment used in handcrafting and traditional methods of creation, including sewing machines, printing with transfer paper, button making, knitting and small looms. Users will come from all parts of the city and will represent all of New Brunswick's diverse populations. The library's Young Adult librarians will host special programs designed to allow teens their own unique access to makerspace items.

Old Bridge Library Idea Farm - Old Bridge Public Library ($10,000): Creation focused makerspace for a community rooted in agriculture and self-sufficiency with a demonstration garden exploring emergent technologies and home crafts.

M3: Making Memories with Makerspace - Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library ($10,000) – the new M3 ("M Cubed") space will provide the digital resources and space for customers to create films and photographic memories. Individual users and members of community organizations will learn from each other. Middle school students will be training buddies for adults who need assistance with the equipment, which will include software for creating films and photo editing and equipment for digitizing photos.

The Enterprise Zone - Plainfield Public Library ($7,500) – this makerspace will invite artists, designers, craftsmen, hobbyists and students to explore the potential of digital technology and learn how to apply it to their artistic vision. Specialized equipment such as a WACOM drawing tablet and a large format scanner/printer will allow users to scan and/or generate prints up to 36 inches wide for portfolios, art projects and advertising. Community groups and local artists have already expressed strong support for the creation of this makerspace.

Fordham FabLab: Multimedia Collaboration Makerspace - Rutgers University Libraries ($8,796): Foster collaboration among sciences, humanities and performing arts students/faculty to enhance creativity for all in a multimedia space that includes 3D printers and a 3D scanner.

Makerspace on the Go - Somerset County Public Library ($8,157) – Makerspace on the Go – this will be a mobile digital makerspace which will be available for use by all of Somerset County Library's branches. The mobile makerspace will also be available at venues outside of libraries, including senior centers, business organizations and the Somerset County 4-H Fair. It will provide an opportunity for groups of multigenerational individuals to create new and edit existing digital content. Members of the business community can create new electronic marketing materials, seniors will create and/or edit personal electronic materials, and students will be able to create video gaming programs or file servers.

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Makerspace Resources

The Makerspace Project's rationale is rooted in the Seven Strategic Goals that form the basis of the Statewide Strategic Plan for the Future of Libraries in New Jersey.

The Seven Strategic Goals are:

  • Communicating the value of libraries
  • Leadership and coordination
  • Collaboration and partnerships
  • Library as community anchor
  • Cycles of innovation
  • Professional development and self-care
  • Creative funding

The Makerspace Project supports New Jersey libraries in meeting each of these goals. We look forward to seeing how our subsidy-winning members harness their creativity to put them into action, and hope the resources below will inspire and assist you! Please let us know if you have any suggestions to add to the mix.

NJ Library Makerspaces

Piscataway Public Library: Make It Yourself
Make It Yourself (MiY) gives residents of all ages access to tools, techniques and hands-on learning experiences that will spark their imaginations and enrich their lives. A particular focus will be given to young people, with the goal of inspiring/nurturing their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEM education is increasingly important as students prepare for careers in our 21st century, technology-dependent, global economy.

Monroe Township Library: Studio M
A new maker lab dedicated to the discovery and implementation of popular and emergent technologies. Studio M provides library patrons with access to tools and hands-on learning opportunities. Studio M is also open for informal exploration.

Hillsdale Public Library: Think It - Make It - Share It
Hillsdale hosts a series of creative, collaborative programs using lower-tech, lower-cost activities. Their hands-on projects bring community members together to dream, create and share their work. This year's series is just getting started; here are activities from last year. They are also running a game series called Play! - players participate in fun contests to win prizes.

Sparta Public Library: Space@Sparta

“Space@Sparta,” the MakerSpace at the library, is a place for people to connect and create. The concept originated from the realization that the library should provide experiences that take people from imagination to actual production. The Maker movement is a response to a lengthy period of history in which innovation and invention were reserved for specialists. As more individuals take on the role of inventor, Maker Spaces have appeared all over the country and the world. The Maker movement is also regarded as a potential economic engine as more entrepreneurs emerge and thrive.

Other Makerspaces Around (or near) NJ

Rutgers University: Headquarters at Rutgers

Hoboken MakerBar

Institute for Exploratory Research, Wall, NJ

The Factory Workers, Collingswood, NJ

Department of Making and Doing, Philadelphia, PA

NextFab Studio, Philadelphia, PA

Library Makerspaces Around the United States

Westport Public Library (CT): MakerSpace

Chattanooga Public Library (TN): 4th Floor

Chicago Public Library (IL): Maker Lab

Cleveland Public Library (OH): TechCentral

North Carolina State University: Makerspace


Guides, Slides, Websites, etc.

Maker Culture (Archived LibraryLinkNJ TechEx Postings, September 2013): Kate Vasilik (Piscataway Public Library, home of the MiY makerspace) shared great resources on learning more about the Maker movement.

New Jersey Makerspace Association

Makerspace Playbook

ALA webinar on Westport Public Library’s Makerspace Project (October 15, 2012, 86 slides)

A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources (March 13, 2013)

A Librarian’s Guide to Supporting the Maker Movement

How Teenage Girls With Power Tools Transformed a Neighborhood (article in Good magazine) 

List of Digital Media Labs & Makerspaces in libraries nationwide

Makerspaces & The Participatory Library (Facebook Group)

3-D Printed Objects Outgrow Their Printers (New Scientist article)

The Future of 3-D Printing: What's Real, What's Hype (GigaOM article)

Guide to Emerging Technologies (State of Alaska's Division of Libraries, Archives & Museums)

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