My HyperLibMOOC classmate Andrea Mullarkey recently presented an alternative view of Makerspaces in libraries that I find as valid as more technological spaces:
But frankly that is incredibly different than what I more often hear as a justification for library maker-spaces, which is to engage users in creative endeavors. If that is the main purpose of having a makerspace, I would argue that a 3-D printer is far from the first thing you would want in your lab. If the goal is for people to create in the library, we might do better to leave the room empty of all but comfy furniture, outlets and Wi-Fi and grow a writer’s corps to make stories in our buildings. Or if we are looking for physical object creation, it’s going pretty well in the makerspace at my library that used to be called “Home Ec.” In a 3 hour session in a room with 4 sewing machines and 20 people with needles, thread, and an assortment of 2 dozen books from the collection I’ve seen book bags, coasters, baby sweaters, upcycled clothing, curtains, potholders, art pieces, jewelry and more leave the room complete. And if we are insistent that using technology to make is the crux of the library makerspace I would vote for garage band, digital photo editing software, and even green screens before 3-D printers.
While I think the exact tools in a library makerspace will vary by community and patron interests, I think we’re best served by thinking of Maker as a state of mind like Andrea seems to.