Week 9: Making and makerspaces

What’s on in Week 9

Twitter chat

When Monday 14 September, 6pm – 7pm
Topic Making and makerspaces
Guest tweeters  TBC
Twitter Chat Champions This week’s Twitter Chat Champions are:

  • Louise
  • Paola
  • Hanan
  • Ankit
  • Toni
  • Ruth
  • Steve
Hashtag #ifn614makechat
Questions Q1 Makerspaces: what’s the point? Should makerspaces really be a priority for libraries? Why or why not?

Q2 Why is creativity important? And what role do GLAMs of different types have in supporting creativity?

Q3 Hugh Rundle suggests buying a 3D printer is not aligned with the library’s mission. Do you think libraries have a mandate to support tech-centred production?

Q4 A little left of centre… Is creativity important to you, personally or professionally? Why or why not? How do you express your creativity?

I’d love our Twitter Chat Champs to pose a question too. Tweet me your question before hand and I’ll schedule it to be posted during the chat.

Debrief We haven’t needed to debrief the last couple of chats so I won’t schedule a debrief this week.
Can’t participate in the Twitter chat? Storify archive

New to Twitter chats? Check out the post on participating in a Twitter chat.


Have you heard of the maker movement?

The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics,robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies, and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them to reference designs. (Wikipedia)

Making and makerspaces. Creating and creativity. Tinkering with technology. This week’s topic encompasses art, design, photography or craft – traditional creative pursuits. It also encompasses the drive to be creative and to make things, regardless of what those things are. The maker movement is about playing, tinkering, making and building, and it has a strong technology flavour. Think Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Think Kickstarter and crowdfunding technology projects. Think DIY drones and robots.

In an article on The Huffington Post blog, Brit Morin from Brit & Co. (one of my favourite creative spaces on the web) answers the question What is the maker movement and why should you care? This article provides an interesting, accessible primer on the maker movement. I highly recommend you read it.

Social technologies have enabled the maker movement by allowing people to connect across geographic distance, supporting development of communities and skills sharing. They have also made publishing to the web accessible to people who don’t have any technical web skills. Blogging allows makers to share their work and others to replicate that work.

The maker movement is changing attitudes about manufacturing and production and impacting on economies.

Maker Movement Infographic

Time Magazine published an article on Why the maker movement is important to America’s future, reflecting on the benefits of making and maker culture:

The Maker Movement has the potential to bring techies and non-techies alike into the world of being creators — some hobby-related, but for many, they could end up making great products and selling them online…

As someone who has seen firsthand what can happen if the right tools, inspiration and opportunity are available to people, I see the Maker Movement and these types of Maker Faires as being important for fostering innovation. The result is that more and more people create products instead of only consuming them, and it’s my view that moving people from being only consumers to creators is critical to America’s future. At the very least, some of these folks will discover life long hobbies, but many of them could eventually use their tools and creativity to start businesses. And it would not surprise me if the next major inventor or tech leader was a product of the Maker Movement.

This week, we’re going to explore how libraries (and other GLAMs) support and nurture creativity and making.

Things to read and watch



About makerspaces: Concerns and consideration in Bagley, Caitlin A. (2014). Makerspaces: Top Trailblazing Projects. Chicago, IL, USA: American Library Association.

Brooklyn Public Library profile in Bagley, Caitlin A. (2014). Makerspaces: Top Trailblazing Projects. Chicago, IL, USA: American Library Association.

Explore the blog The library as incubator project. Read a couple of essays or a couple of blog posts and share interesting ones with your peers on Twitter.

Personal creative and making practice

I also want to touch on individuals, making and creativity, both in our everyday lives and in our professional lives.

Everyone has a creative bone

You’ve all heard me say that creativity isn’t a characteristic; it’s a skill that we need to nurture. We’re not all artists, but everyone has the capacity to be creative. All it takes is a bit of nurturing and creative confidence.

But is everyone a maker?

Case study: Kim Tairi

For some people, being creative is a way of life. Let me introduce you to Kim Tairi. Kim is the boss at a university library in Melbourne, a senior member of the library and information professions, a maker, creativity advocate, and *huge* social media user. Earlier this year, I asked Kim if she would share about her creative practice and her use of social media, and how these two things fit together. She’s created a story for my undergraduate Social Technologies unit with the Storehouse storytelling app for iPad, and here it is.

What I love about Kim’s story is that it provides a glimpse of how one individual uses social technologies as part of her every day creative practice.

Things to do

assessment-iconWeek 9 learning activity post

You need to complete your Week 9 learning activity. You can complete any of the six activity types that are included in Assignment 1 but remember you need to complete one of each type of activity over the course of the semester.

Marks for submission date

Remember, there are additional marks for submitting this activity within particular time periods. The breakdown is:

  • Submit by the end of the nominated week: 2 additional marks
  • Submit by the end of the following week: 1 additional mark
  • Submit after the end of the following week but before the next check point: 0 additional marks

Argue a point of view

If you’re doing the ‘argue a point of view’ topic this week, you can choose from one of the following topics (argue for or against the statement). Please note I may not agree with all of these!

Alternatively, you can pick your own topic.

  • Buying a 3D printer is not aligned with the library’s mission and makerspaces are gimmicks.
  • Libraries should be about production, not just managing information and knowledge.
  • Libraries have a responsibility to support creativity.
  • Supporting the development of technology skills is not the role of the library.
  • Libraries are a leveler and makerspaces are one way libraries can bridge the digital divide.