Maker Programs and Maker Faires @ Your Library

Resource Author
Pham Condello

It’s a given that we all are participating in the maker movement.  You may not realize it, but you are.  Lego free play?  Make programs.  Adult knitting groups?  Make Programs.  Student Film Festivals?  Yet again a Make program.    

The theme for this month’s TechEx guest contributor is maker programs @ your library.  I will touch on the importance of maker programs, the best (or what I think are the best) make websites out there, ways to fund your programs and the significance of partnerships.

By the way, yesterday, I was thrilled to see that three New Jersey libraries- Monroe Township, Piscataway and the Ocean County Library, were represented at the Newark Museum’s Mini Maker Faire.  We really are making a difference in our communities and proving how vital we are to the residents of New Jersey.

Top 3 websites for Make Ideas

#1.  Make it @ your Library

Make it @ Your Library is the perfect site to visit if you want some creative “make” ideas.  This website was developed in collaboration with (my go to website since I started programming in the library world) and the American Library Association.  This site is incredible.  It is fully searchable, and breaks up the ideas into age level, cost, tools & space (workshop, classroom, etc.) and category.  As I sit here writing with an empty stomach, I decided to keyword search “food.”   You're probably wondering why I wouldn't go with something to take my mind of off the mean spirited growling coming from my belly.  I’m wondering why also.  I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.  Anyway, I came across the most irresistible dinosaur corn-cob holders!  DINOSAUR CORN-COB HOLDERS!  You can even make them out of any of plastic animals you have lying around the house.   Another love of mine is vintage dolls and toys.  I have a collection worthy of being on a cringe worthy TLC reality show, so I decided to search the keyword “dolls.”  Through this site, I found a way to create creepy dolls without destroying a doll collection!  Perfect for a Halloween or historical display collection at your library!

#2.  Make Magazine

Make Magazine, the leaders of the maker movement, has a great website dedicated to the maker culture.  You can search for projects, sign up for their maker space and maker faire newsletters or browse their store.  Another added bonus of this site is that they take purchase orders from libraries, for all purchases over $500.00.  In the summer, Maker Magazine collaborates with Google, to offer a virtual Maker Camp.  For more information please refer to Doug Baldwin’s informative article on Maker Camp. 

The website is broken down into the following searchable categories: electronics, workshop, crafts, science, home, art & design, and weekend projects.  Each category is broken up into subcategories, and then you can even narrow it down more by skill level.  As I sit here, listening to Whitney Houston belt out lyrics to “All at Once” I decided to do a search on music.  It is here that I found the most marvelously easy DIY speaker made of a Styrofoam plate!  now everyone in my office can hear Whitney’s super sweet vocals through the magic of this environmentally unfriendly product.

#3. Instructables


Like I’ve previously stated, I have been using the website for quite some time now and they never disappoint.  You can find anything you need from how to safely kill your ants (not aunts) the organic way,!-The-Organic-Way/ to another ingenious way to use your library card!  A patron was in Lowes and realized that he could use his library card to act as a straight edge for objects that needed cuts up to four inches.  And for those swine lovers out there, they even have a category dedicated to bacon!

Contact Information

Pham Condello
Teen Services Coordinator
Ocean County Library System
732-349-6200 ext 5201
pcondello [at]

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