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This is a guest blog post by Carla Decasti, from Shoalhaven Libraries.
It’s an exciting time to be a librarian. Which is weird, right? I mean, ‘librarian’ and ‘exciting’ have not been known, typically, to be particularly synonymous. Indeed, most responses to finding out I am a librarian centre around words like ‘nice’ (which is true) and ‘lovely’ (also, true) and ‘oh, do you know this book I read 17 years ago, the cover was green…or brown…maybe? And I think one guy had a dog.’ (There’s a 96.5 per cent probability that we can find that for you, yes).But, yeah, right now, it’s an especially exciting time to be a librarian. The very vibrant, and eminently contagious Makerspace movement is shifting the way libraries operate and are perceived. And librarians across the world are all sensing this very welcome disturbance in the force.Always spheres of inclusivity, ever bastions of curiosity, libraries are the perfect hubs for introducing spaces for creative realisation, for collaborative engagement, and for making making important.
The Lead the Change Maker Workshop has only added to my already heady excitement about the potential of library Makerspaces. Being a part of the coming together of librarians, teachers, educators and makers from several countries around the world has been invaluable for sparking ever more ideas for programs and events around learning and making in our libraries, whether it is ballyhooing important 21st century skills, or championing the noble purl stitch.
Congressman Mark Takano’s very excellent talk about how the Maker Movement enriches local economies was particularly pertinent. We endeavour always to support our local community and make technologies and relevant resources available to everyone. We see Makerspaces, then, as an exciting extension of this democratisation of space, skills and equipment.
It is so exciting to listen to the wonderful work being done by makers within libraries, such as the very impressive Nick Taylor, who, as a librarian and tech specialist, is the perfect example of how a library makerspace can provide very important opportunities for building relationships within the local community. His entreaty to keep the Makerspace casual and comfortable, to make any and all technology accessible to everyone is, again, built on the ethos of sharing and inclusivity that underpins the work we all do within libraries.
And the possibilities are endless. Endless.
The Maker Workshop, its facilitators and speakers have reaffirmed this point again and again. From Nick’s turn signal bike jackets, to LEGO murals (via the supercool Tricia Fugelstad), to green screen short films, stop motion animation, 3D printing, coding, cooking, laser cutting, and robots. ACTUAL ROBOTS, I tell you.
Coming soon to a library near you: EVERYTHING. ANYTHING.And all of a sudden ‘nice’ and ‘lovely’ are turning into ‘cool!’ and ‘awesome!’ and ‘sweet Odin’s raven, that’s incredible’. Ok, no-one has said that last one (yet). And ‘exciting’? Most certainly.