10 Ways to Celebrate Maker Culture

Maker Culture is creating an explosion in libraries throughout the world, and NJ isn’t left out. In fact, you are probably promoting Maker Culture in your library already and may not even know it. Maker Culture is less about having a physical makerspace or 3-D printer, and more about creating an atmosphere of learning, play, and creative exploration. Below is a list of 10 simple ways that your library can celebrate Maker Culture; how many of you are already doing some of these things or something similar?

10. Host open-play or drop-in craft sessions for any or all ages. This promotes not only building and creating, but also universally-beneficial collaboration and interaction with others.

9. Build a library-wide collaborative project. Hillsdale Public Library has a public Puzzle Table to which all wanderers may contribute. As each puzzle is completed it is displayed in the library, and before it is taken down pictures are posted to Facebook, Flickr, and the Library's website: http://myhillsdalelibrary.org/puzzle-table.

8. Plan a free-thinking craft program for teens or adults using repurposed materials. You can plan instructions for crafts like taxidermy stuffed animals, no-sew repurposed tshirts, and two-liter soda bottle motorboats, or you can just provide materials and have participants use their imaginations. These can be structured programs or take-home crafts.

7. Check out Google's Maker Camp project archives: http://makezine.com/maker-camp/schedule. Maker Camp is brought to learners and educators by Google and Make Magazine, and it is designed to accommodate broad maker interests, so there’s something that appeals to everyone. There are diverse daily activities across a spectrum of science, technology, tinker, crafting, plus weekly virtual field trips. It's free to participate, and it's free to take a look at the website for activity ideas and instructions!

6. Purchase a button maker. (Piscataway Library's is from American Button Machines: http://www.americanbuttonmachines.com.) Button makers can make buttons or magnets in a variety of sizes, and are super versatile. Machines can be bolted down and available for public use; they can be brought into and used with a variety of programs for all ages; and/or they can be used in-house for lots of promotional opportunities.

5. Finger painting for adults explores a whole new level of creative and emotional exploration. Piscataway Public Library hosted this program - exclusively for adults - and received a tremendous amount of feedback from adults who found this kind of "play" therapeutic. They came up with some cool creations, too!

4. Offer some sewing programs for all ages. Purchase a couple of sewing machines and plan some basic classes on showing participants how to thread, use, and clean the machines. Plan simple projects and leave room for growth of the group as skills improve. If you can't purchase a machine, start a group for hand stitching, knitting, or crocheting.

3. Check out the Facebook Group, MakerSpaces and the Participatory Library for some good conversation, tips, and information about Maker Culture and makerspaces: https://www.facebook.com/groups/librarymaker.

2. Go ahead and look into the purchase of hot ticket items like 3-D printers, Arduino kits and MaKey MaKeys, vinyl cutter and heat press, robotics kits, and various types of creative software like GarageBand and Adobe photoshop. Start big or small, but either way just get started.

1. Set aside some time for yourself, your staff, and your patrons to just learn! Play! And create!

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