Week 9 | Program review | Makerspaces – Children's craft activities

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    • #2058
      Peldon P
      Participant

      I went into week 9 Twitter chat without any idea of what Makerspace is because I did not get time to do the readings. Therefore I could not enjoy the chat as much as I hoped to.  Since makerspace seems like quite a popular topic among the libraries I decided to review the program with respect to Makerspace.

      I googled makerspace programs and was quite overwhelmed by the response; it seems most libraries under Brisbane City Council offer the programs on various date. The ‘children craft activities’ offered by the Mount Gravatt Library was ideal for me because it was in time for this week’s activity, it is nearby my place and it kept my son engaged while I review the program.

      Mt Gravatt Library

      About Makerspaces Concerns and Considerations has defined makerspace as

      ..space that has been designed to allow users to create, build, and learn new projects and technologies.

      My son and I took the bus to the Mount Gravatt Library at half past nine this morning. The program was scheduled from 9AM to 12PM. The library is a beautiful single storied building in a nice community. I asked the man behind the desk about the program and I was immediately handed piece of paper, a photo frame made out of cardboard with stand and a container full of multi-coloured crayons.  With these things in my hand, I couldn’t tell him that I was there for myself (to review the program) not for my toddler.  Since the program, craft activities for children aged 2-8, was for children and seeing me with a toddler he naturally assumed I was there for my son. I took the things and proceeded to one of the tables in the corner.

      When we reached the spot, I was quite surprised to find that we were the first to arrive for the program. During my 2 hours there I saw fewer than 20 people in the library, perhaps because it was the weekend. A man was reading newspaper in the corner, 5 people were using the computers and the rest were browsing the catalogues and the shelfs. As stated by Catlin Bagley makerspace activity does not really require a big space but a small space in the corner for the library patrons to get hands-on learning which would not be available in them otherwise outside the library. This is particularly true for the craft activity my son was engaged in then.  He only used a small portion of the six-seater table. An hour later we were joined by a mother-daughter duo for the craft activities but they did not stay long because the daughter was reluctant to draw.

      Craft activity

      I was quite surprised not many turned up for the program, which brings me to question the whole purpose of having the program.  During our 2 hour stay nobody came to ask us how we are doing (there were 2 librarians on duty today).  Maybe it is due to the simplicity of the activity or maybe it is because there were few attendees or maybe the librarians assume their patrons are regular and already familiar with it. For whatever the reason, if the libraries do not do things differently, this craft activity can be carried out anywhere therefore it does not justify the need of libraries to carry out makerspace programs.

      Still I strongly support the library’s inclusion of the Makerspace programs. It could possibly be the libraries best contribution to its community. It would benefit those people who cannot afford a laptop or internet (wifi) connection or for parents who cannot afford time and money for their children. The environment too is best suited for learning. The maker programs highlighted in the ‘Library incubator project’ seems like looks like the socially beneficial activities. I would like to stress that running maker programs are good but firstly libraries should do some research on the kind of programs that will best work for them and their community. The children’s craft activities at Mount Gravatt Library seems unnecessary if the participants’ turnaround is anything to go by. The Brooklyn Public Library is a good example of planning strategically is important while designing any makerspace program.

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P. Reason: Week 9, Program reviews, Making and Makerspaces
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Peldon P.
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    • #2110
      Caitlin .
      Participant

      Hi Peldon,

      I was just wondering what you thought would have made the experience better as the children’s “maker space” you attended seems largely unstructured and without much planning or specific outcomes in mind.

      Did your son enjoy it ? Do you think a larger group would have made it more fun? I know story time at our Library has a maker activity at the end however i believe it is always full and requires booking ahead. Many friends go for the social occasion and most activities are linked to the literary outcomes of the book read in story time.

      It is interesting to hear the approach of this particular library. Is it the only activity like this they offer?

      Caitlin

      • #2335
        Peldon P
        Participant

        Hi Catlin, I think you’re right it was quite unstructured and the librarians are probably bored because not many people turn up for such programs but my son thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I’d like to take him again.

    • #2114
      Katherine Lee
      Participant

      Interesting post Peldon 🙂

      It doesn’t seem like much of an effort was made to make the ‘makerspace’ interactive and engaging. As you say, people can do the same activity at their own home. It is a pity there weren’t more people participating in the same activity. It doesn’t sound as if the library made much of an effort to differentiate the makerspace from the rest of the library. I agree, perhaps their program would benefit from further research. It is a good reminder that libraries can’t just dedicate a time or space to an activity and expect people to use it, concerted effort needs to go in to the planning, designing and implementation of programs.

      • #2336
        Peldon P
        Participant

        Thanks Katherine, yeah I was bit disappointed that they didn’t inquire anything of me in that 2 hours, they didn’t ask anything of the other lady too. Still I am glad of the experience my son and I had.

    • #2117

      What a gorgeous little man you have Peldon!

      He does look a little lonely at that table by himself though. Like Katherine and Caitlin, it seems to me that the library in this case was simply offering a space rather than a program as such. I wonder if they had other times when they were busier and had scheduled time and activity better. They don’t seem to have put in much effort and I was surprised they didn’t approach you or offer any assistance or direction during a 2 hour visit – that’s a long time! As Hugh Rundle says “It’s not enough anymore for information to be organised – it needs to be made available in new and meaningful ways. It needs to be communicated …” and I think in your case there wasn’t much being communicated or made available at all. Still, kids are resilient and hopefully some drawing time was fun for your son.

      I gues this is where we, as student librarians, can really learn  something about designing programs that engage people and provide value, not just providing a space. I’ve struggled a little with creating an engaging program – being a teacher hasn’t been my forte in the past. However your experience has shown me how important it is to put in the time and effort to plan, design and implement a program that would excite, engage and interest library patrons. There’s so much exciting stuff out there! Especially for kids. It’s a shame your library couldn’t have done more.

      • #2337
        Peldon P
        Participant

        Hi Robynne, I am always amazed by how wonderfully you write and how you could think of all the perspectives. I think it just goes to show that participants have not taken enough effort to let them know the program is not really how it should have been. Next time I attend, I will ask them the questions 😉

    • #2123
      Saurav Khadka
      Participant

      Hi Peldon,

      Nice post, and few things  I also would like to add up is the librarians or whoever is supposed to co-ordinate the program should have come and ask how is everything going. Though task may be easy to do but I think they should be responsible for the program they are running. Maker program are new ways of involving people into learning new things, and especially library can be considered a big repository of knowledge, information and learning, more of these programs should be conducted. I think they should also try to involve more people and be more attentive and concerned towards them.

      Cheers!

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Saurav Khadka.
    • #2227
      Deborah Fuller
      Participant

      Very interesting post Peldon and in complete contrast to the program I attended which was very structured and well- attended. Like you say, your son could have done the drawing anywhere, including the kitchen table at home, which asks the question “what is the point of parents taking their children to it?” I program like this has so much potential to be a positive experience for the parents and children both socially and creatively, but I needs to be organised  a more structured way to achieve this.

      • #2339
        Peldon P
        Participant

        Hi Debbie, I would love to attend that program if only to draw comparisons between the two.

    • #2241
      Stacey Larner
      Moderator

      Echoing the others, it’s surprising there was no program facilitator or indeed much effort put in at all. Sounds like a pretty disappointing experience.

      • #2340
        Peldon P
        Participant

        Yes Stacey bit disappointed but it was our first time experience so loved it too..esp my son, he was so engrossed in his work 🙂

    • #2279
      Kate McKelliget
      Participant

      Hi Peldon, thanks for your post. As you pointed out, strategic planning – meeting the users’ needs – is so important to the success of maker spaces. I wonder if the program hasn’t been strategically planned well or whether it hasn’t been executed well?

      • #2338
        Peldon P
        Participant

        Totally 😉 I agree with you. Cheers

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