Staffing a School or Library Makerspace
Otherwise it's an empty room full of equipment
This ought to be a truism: you don’t really have a makerspace in a school or library without properly staffing it.
I was reminded of this when I saw a news report that about a family makerspace at Neosho Newton County Library in Missouri. The story said that the library was “celebrating a new space designed to spark creativity.” The space has the usual makerspace equipment from sewing machines to 3D printers. It offers STEAM kits that parents and children can check out and bring home, a great idea in itself.
Most importantly, the Neosho Newton County library has two staffers to manage it. One of them, quoted in the article, is Sabrina Stockton, an IT Technician at the library. She said about the makerspace:
“You can tell the kids who have never seen this stuff before, and there’s actually quite a few. They’ll come back and their eyes will be really wide, and they’ll just be amazed. And, I know, a lot of adults are kind of amazed, too, I would say.”
What really caught my attention, however, was the last line of the article: “The Makerspace has been around for more than two years, but it hasn’t been specifically staffed or open to the public until its soft opening two weeks ago.” Now that Neosho Library Makerspace is staffed, this new space is good to go, serving this city of 12,800 people in southwestern Missouri. You can watch the ribbon cutting ceremony on Facebook.
Many other makerspaces, I’m sure, existed as empty rooms full of equipment during COVID. Some of them are just coming back now and, like Neosho Library, they need to be properly staffed.