Week 9 – Argue a Point – Makerspaces – Tech to Disconnect

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    • #2376
      Shannon Franzway

      When it comes to new technology and gadgets I do like to be front and centre to give them a try and find out what they’re all about and how they work. I see how makerspaces are a great way for like-minded people in the community to get together and play with technologies and gadgets and make the most of something they may not be able to access on their own.

      Seeing Hugh Rundle’s article about 3D printers got me to thinking. Whilst a lot of makerspaces are about technology – if this fits with the library’s mission and vision, that’s great – but, when thinking in terms of makerspaces from Library as Incubator or Britton it’s about creating, collaborating, sharing resources and knowledge – the journey (the making) and the destination (what is created) are equally important. Add to that the comments from our own learning community on Twitter – nurturing creativity, promoting learning, fostering communities, a different way of teaching and learning, makerspaces are about ideas. Technology is not the first thing on the list.

      Technology should certainly form part of the definition of makerspaces, but it is exactly that – a part. Conceivably, technology itself creates an alternative purpose for makerspaces – members of society are finding that they sometimes need a break from the digital world. Enter the slow movement and a general cultural shift toward DIY. Technology is great but, like so many other things in life, it’s great in moderation.

      Is there support for the notion that the tech-alternative makerspace is alive and well in the community? A quick search for recent sessions in Brisbane came up with art and crafts for varying age groups and varying themes plus dress making skills and in a general Queensland search I found a workshop on making a Himalayan Salt Lamp.

      Even SLQ’s The Edge, renowned for its digital and technological making, has a number of offerings on the non-tech front: how to make organic fabric dyes, making Zoomorphic masks and an introduction to screen writing. Not to mention there’s old school equipment in the Fabrication Lab: sewing machines, overlockers, hand tools and soldering irons.

      During my research for this post, I also came across the phenomenon of repair cafes – moving away from the throwaway society to create a circular economy, offering the potential of job creation and innovation and a pathway to resilient economic growth.

      If anything, I think there’s potential for non-tech makerspace activities to grow in number. In the end, it really is about remaining true to the mission and values of the library service.

    • #2444
      hanan albishri

      Great post Shannon I really enjoyed . Some expertise may be needed to use certain tools common in makerspaces, but in general, educational makerspaces do not need to be overly complicated or formidable. Of all the aspects required in a makerspace, environment is at the very top of the list. No makerspace survives and thrives without a supportive environment. There is no amount of bright, shiny new technology that can take the place of inspiration, and inspiration is a direct result of the environment created by the space.

    • #2721
      Shannon Franzway


    • #2844
      Steven Walker

      I think Makerspaces are for everyone and that Librariues should embrace them, i did like your reading however on this toopic and was wondering if you think the BCC should have a hackerspace in its city Library?

      • #2869
        Shannon Franzway

        Good question, Steven – I’m not familiar with the specific mission/vision that BCC libraries have, but I’m sure that would be the best place to start to determine strategic fit.  It’s also a question of space – space in the budget, physical space, space in the schedule for staff to set something like this up. But if it was a high priority, I’m sure all these hurdles could be overcome.

    • #2930
      Tracey Allen

      Hey Shannon,

      I enjoyed reading your post and do agree with you. I think a main concern with local council libraries is funding the supplies, so that the makerspace program can be free to library patrons. I believe this is the reason my local council library doesn’t offer makerspaces very often.  Perhaps if like you suggested they made it more of a priority there would be more on offer.




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