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University Libraries Receives Grant to Expand Makerspace Offerings

The University Libraries have received a grant for just under $30,000 from LSTA funds administered by the State Library to expand training in the use of  Makerspaces such as the one in Jackson Library

The rapid evolution of consumer-grade fabrication technology has led to substantial interest in makerspaces within the library setting, but librarians are often left to manage these resources with little support or training. As the demand for maker-related resources increases, librarians serving in both the academic and public setting will be expected to be able to manage, handle, and repair these cutting-edge resources. Librarians will also be expected to coordinate patrons’ needs with new innovative technologies, to research and present on trends in a rapidly-changing pedagogical environment, and to do so within the context of methods which depend heavily on trial and error.

This grant goal is to cultivate a relationship between librarians and makerspaces.  Our grant team includes Michelle Folkman, an LIS graduate student and information creative who acts as our research and curriculum coordinator; Brown Biggers, server administrator; and Beth Filar Williams, liaison to the the UNCG  Library and Information Studies Department to carry out this grant. Working with UNCG’s LIS department the grant aims to provide experiential education and training to these graduate students in order to meet the growing demand for maker-related resources found in any library setting.  Activities include: recruiting practicum LIS graduate students each semester to work as liaison to academic departments in the makerspace area to create curriculum and workshop offerings; offering online 30 minute workshops on tools and software used to create; embedding in at least one LIS course requiring students to synchronously or asynchronously listen to one of our online workshops and create a makerspace lesson plan;  visiting key geographic areas around the state with the LIS department faculty to offer workshops to current online students, alums and potential students; and hosting a day long maker conference called AcadeMAKE in late February. By offering skilled support and a safe learning environment, both current librarians and these UNCG graduate students will receive the training and education they need to work in libraries with a makerspace presence.