Brian Kenney’s new piece in Publishers Weekly is on Maker Spaces:
I love his take:
What’s radical about maker spaces in libraries? Pretty much everything. Maker spaces are messy in a library world that values order, disruptive in a culture run by schedules, chaotic in a profession that did, after all, develop the Dewey Decimal System.
Hill, who has an empty floor she is using for her maker space, says it’s up to the community to determine how they use it. The library is there to provide support, but she has no idea what direction it will take.
Maker spaces also utilize STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math), skills that public libraries are notoriously poor at supporting. Traditionally staffed by a bunch of English majors, there’s not much on our shelves between DK 101 Great Science Experiments and the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. STEM makes us anxious.
And maker spaces are inherently intergenerational in institutions that make rigid distinctions—about place, access, and behavior—based on age. Just how comfortable will most libraries be with an environment in which a fifth-grader collaborates with a 40-year-old?